If you follow tech news, you have likely read one of the stories-gone-viral from tech news site UrbanGeekz, a technology, business, and science site serving people of color.
In an interview, founder Kunbi Tinuoye, a seasoned journalist and broadcaster from the U.K., discusses why she launched a tech news sites benefiting people of color and her experiences covering Silicon Valley while black.
BLACK ENTERPRISE: Prior to launching UrbanGeekz, what did you feel was lacking in the coverage of mainstream tech media outlets, which did not appeal or offer benefit to people of color?
Tinuoye: Mainstream tech blogs do a good job covering technology and the innovation [of the] economy. Yet, many of these outlets don’t pay enough attention to the growing multicultural market. Their readers also tend to be comprised of a relatively narrow demographic, with a significant skew toward college-educated men.
UrbanGeekz appeals to a broad demographic. We have a strong following of female readers, but men still enjoy the brand. What sets us apart is that we cover technology from a diverse and inclusive perspective. We showcase and celebrate disruptive innovators, from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds. Ultimately, we aim to make technology accessible, while highlighting STEM fields and entrepreneurship as exciting career paths, particularly for women and underserved communities.
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BE: You launched in 2015. Since then, the site has gained quite some traction. Can you give us perspective on the site’s growth rate?
Tinuoye: Since we launched in 2015, we have achieved a number of key milestones; from advertising campaigns with established brands, to strategic partnerships with corporate firms. The website has spearheaded display ads for Intel, Macy’s, Nielsen, and Culture Shift Labs, among others. We have also forged successful collaborations with AT&T, 20th Century Fox, General Assembly, Tech Talent South, EGAMI Group, Startup Runway, Wonder Women Tech, and Atlanta Tech Village, to name a few.
In September , UrbanGeekz was recognized by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) as an innovative media platform that’s impacting the tech entrepreneurial ecosystem in Georgia and beyond. The digital news platform was one of only four media startups profiled in TAG’s HUB magazine, as a Georgia-based tech company that is impacting the tech landscape. All four ‘up-starters’ were acknowledged during a special unveiling ceremony in Atlanta.
The following month we won a $5,000 cash prize at the Rainbow PUSHTech2020 Think Tank pitch competition.
Still, the biggest indicator of success has been the steady increase of email subscribers and growth in our site’s traffic. Visitors have grown organically, primarily because of high-quality content, with some blog posts even going viral across social networking sites.
BE: What are your goals moving forward, with the site?
Tinuoye: We will continue to produce quality editorials and video content that adds value to our readers. But, we’re also going to broaden our content to include more international coverage out of Africa, Latin America, and the United Kingdom. So, for example, we are planning to cover the 2017 Wearable Technology Show that takes place in London in early March. As we continue to grow, we’ll be setting up satellite hubs in key locations across the world, which will strengthen our position as a global multimedia brand.
Another big focus this year is our recently launched news show. Geekz Watch is a roundup of the best and latest tech, business, science, and startup news, and much more. The program will be featured on the website, and also on our social networking sites, including our YouTube page.
Further down the line, we will announce details of ‘The UrbanGeekz 100’—an annual list of emerging and established multicultural leaders, who have demonstrated power and influence in technology, science, and business.
BE: What do you think people of color are looking for, as far as news, and more specifically, technology coverage?
Tinuoye: People of color have a wide range of interests—from music, to fashion, and the latest tech trends. When it comes to tech coverage, minorities are looking for innovative stories that highlight and celebrate diverse tech innovators. Our readers are craving content that gives them the opportunity to explore different options. Evidence of this is the overwhelmingly positive feedback UrbanGeekz has received since its inception.
BE: Do you feel that branding a tech news site as one for people of color makes access to Silicon Valley easier or more difficult?
Tinuoye: I truly believe if you create a product or service that’s unique, innovative, and useful to a broad base of consumers, people–including bigwigs in Silicon Valley–will sit up and take notice.