'Black in America' 4: Wayne Sutton, One Year Later
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Wayne Sutton, a co-founder of the NewMe Accelerator, is now founder of PitchTo.co


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.

There would not be a NewMe Accelerator without Wayne Sutton. When Angela Benton of BlackWeb2.0 contacted him in 2011 for advice about launching a mobile app and how they were apart of the 1% of  African Americans startup founders, together the team came up with the idea for a three-month accelerator. Since way before the age of Twitter, Sutton, who also blogs as and goes by the moniker SocialWayne, has been at the forefront of social media, blogging about all things tech related. Now, Sutton has many more notches on his belt and technophiles of all races turn to him for his expertise on any number of topics including location-based digital services, startup and pitch strategy, User Interface/User Interaction (UI/UX), mobile interface design, business development, and content strategy. Read ahead to learn more about why Sutton joined forces with Benton, whether the accelerator was a success in his eyes, and what’s next on his to-do list.

As co-founder of the NewMe Accelerator my vision was to…

Launch a successful program to work with the brightest minds in Silicon Valley. To help first-time and experienced minority entrepreneurs learn what it takes to build a technology startup.

I’ve learned a lot since launching and leaving NewME such as…

The importance of having great mentors and advisers, along with making sure every founder of the team understands their role before moving forward with the company. Overall, the experience of launching an accelerator in Silicon Valley was priceless.

I moved to San Francisco from North Carolina in February to keep the vision of the NewME Accelerator going. I worked with another class of founders from February to May of 2012, to help develop their product, connect with mentors and prepare them to pitch their products to VC firms and press.

What many people don’t know by just watching the CNN Black In America 4 documentary is…

That I was the co-founder of a mobile location-based startup in North Carolina that was founded in 2009. That’s the startup I was working on before my former NewME partner, Angela Benton, called me asking for advice about launching a startup. After NewME started, I decided to put our NC-based startup on hold, which allowed me to focus on maintaining the accelerator. Due to the CNN cameras, I still had to pitch at the end of the program so I came up with two app ideas from July to August one being Vouch and pitched it on demo day.

If I had to do it all over again…

I wouldn’t have pitched at all. I decided not to launch Vouch. Although I liked the idea, I wasn’t passionate about it. So decided to not move forward on the idea and focus on launching the NewME Community across the country and getting ready for the 2012 class.

In May, I decided to leave NewME to launch a new company call PitchTo.co. PitchTo is a mobile development lab which builds tools for investors to make smarter decisions and help entrepreneurs deliver exceptional pitches. The vision behind PitchTo came after seeing a disconnect between founders and investors around the pitch and feedback loop.

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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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