‘Black in America’ 4: Curtiss Pope, One Year Later
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Curtiss Pope's AisleFinder app makes shopping easier. He fine tuned the business model when he participated in the NewMe Accelerator (Image: Kent Hwang)

Last November, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien explored Silicon Valley through the eyes of eight African-American entrepreneurs. All participants of the inaugural NewMe Accelerator class, the Black in America: The New Promised Land — Silicon Valley cast invited viewers into their journey as startup founders competing in an industry comprised of less than 1% of entrepreneurs that look like them. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the tech innovators to see what they’ve been up to one year later.

AisleFinder, also known as the GPS of the Supermarket, is the brain child of Curtiss Pope, a former programmer at Microsoft and Yahoo. AisleFinder is a location-based app that makes it easier to find the items on your shopping list by providing the exact aisle numbers. The app is available in more than 6,300 supermarkets in the U.S. and Canada, including well over 100  Walmart supercenter locations.  Over the last four years, Pope has been able to grow his user base from 40 to over 64,000, as of January 2012, and much of that growth is due to resources he attracted taking part in programs like the NewMe Accelerator. Although CNN only chose to cover a select number of NewMe participants, you can catch Pope’s story here as he reflects on the accelerator program and gives his take on Silicon Valley diversity.

For me, Silicon Valley is…

Home. I was born and raised here. I was one of the local startups selected to be in the accelerator.

Since NewMe ended…

AisleFinder is still my main project, but I have a few other ideas that I’ve been able to get off the ground. I’ve been building a Supermarket API , and GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) checker.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


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