“Build our own” is a strong sentiment from the Black Enterprise audience, whenever we cover inequality in business or when we write articles about the egregious lack of diversity in Silicon Valley’s workforce.
Many of us are building our own. There are a number of black entrepreneurs creating successful tech products and services. If you want to support black businesses, here are some black-owned counterparts to our favorite tech:
The Siam 7X, a dual screen smartphone, is one of the few hardware products from a black entrepreneur, Darius Allen. The Siam 7X has dual front and rear screens. It supports two SIM cards, an SD card, and can control infrared devices, and works with T-Mobile and AT&T.
2. A Website for Tech Info and Advice
Blacks in Technology (BiT) is a website for programmers, entrepreneurs, and those with careers in IT. The active forum is a great place for everyday gadget users to get great advice about technology, including how to test Internet speeds, using Bitcoin, and reviews on the latest virtual reality headsets.
3. Cleaning Service
There are quite a few startups billed as the “Uber of cleaning services.” Two startups that have had success in this latest sharing-economy business are Neatso and Handy. However, Geniemates is a black-owned startup that provides that same app-based service. Download the app and schedule a cleaning of your home or office.
4. Vacation Accommodation Rentals
With accusations of hosts refusing to rent to some black users on Airbnb’s platform, it was only a matter of time before black-owned versions of appeared. Noirbnb has not yet fully launched, but you can enter your email to sign up for early access. Innclusive is another space-sharing service that is black-owned and encourages people of color and members of the LGBTQ community to sign up.
5. Networking Apps
There are a slew of apps to help event attendees network with each another. Some of the more widely used include Attendify, Bizzabo, and Whova. However, Mixtroz is an events networking app founded by an African American mother and daughter team of professionals.
6. E-commerce/Online Shopping
Amazon, Wayfair, Zulily; there is no shortage of sites from which to shop. Cosign is a black-owned app that lets users buy items from social media, by providing the ability to “tag” products within the images they upload.
7. Content Sharing
We are all creating a lot of content. When not even counting social media platforms, blogging sites and tools, such as Medium and Tumblr, are give many a broad reaching platform. Black-owned Cewebity wants you to get paid for your content. Users create a profile, connect their PayPal account, and start posting their original content—including photos, articles, and audio. They then can also receive quarterly payments for “likes” and listens.
8. Business Review Website
Instead of Yelp, try Localeur. Founded by Joah Spearman, Localeur provides travel recommendations from locals in a particular area.
It’s not quite a substitute for the Apple Watch, but if you want to support a smartwatch created by will.i.am, check out his product, Dial. It’s a fully functioning stand-alone smartphone, with features such as 32GB of storage; a 1.63-inch AMOLED, Gorilla Glass display; a 2.0 MP camera; and a removable battery.
10. Messaging and CMS
When trying to build a brand and appeal to a large fan or customer base, there are tools able to extend beyond Twitter and Facebook. SuperPhone is one such tool. The brainchild of entertainer, Ryan Leslie, SuperPhone is an SMS customer management and messaging platform designed to help build your brand and connect on a wide scale with your customers (or fans).