These Black-Owned Tech Upstarts Are Bridging the Cultural Divide
These upstarts leverage technology to provide needed solutions for traditionally underserved communities.
December 14, 2017 at 4:29 pm
The influence African Americans have on mainstream culture is undeniable.
Neilsen Music recently released a report showing hip hop as the most popular musical genre.
A separate Neilsen report verified the wide reaching popularity and influence of black television shows on mainstream culture.
The trend also holds true in the tech world: a 2013 Pew Research Center study found that African Americans and Latinxs use the internet and access social media sites like Twitter and Facebook at higher rates than white Americans.
While there is clearly a large pool of consumers of color, these potential customers haven't always been tapped.
Venture capital firm Cross Culture Ventures (CCV) hopes to change that by putting its money towards what it terms "cultural investing." Essentially, that means supporting startups that leverage technology to provide solutions for problems facing traditionally underserved communities.
On Thursday, CCV released a report titled the "State of Tech & Culture, Culture A$ Currency Report."
In the report, the company explores data about a new generation that is not only transforming what America looks like, but also how it engages in and executes business. The report also hopes to raise awareness around businesses who are shifting culture and highlights the work of founders who are effectively doing that.
"In this report, 'Culture A$ Currency,' we examine challenges for both consumers and businesses within underserved communities, highlight the role that technology can play to address those challenges, and shine a light on the financial opportunity associated with the aforementioned," Marlon Nichols, managing partner at CCV, told Blavity.
"An underlying theme in this report is the fact that multicultural millennials from these communities are driving global popular culture and as such brands and investors alike must note their point view."
Just who are the black-owned tech companies featured in the report? Here are three:
Launched by Leandrew Robinson, Hingeto provides risk-free solutions that allow fashion brands and retail buyers to test out designs without spending capital on excess inventory. It does so by retailing only as many products as customers purchase. NFL player Marshawn Lynch partnered with Hingeto to manufacture products for his Beast Mode apparel line.
"[Marshawn] liked the fact that he could test out different looks quickly on Hingeto — it was a no brainer for his team," Robinson told Inc.com.
LendStreet helps consumers restructure their debt and reclaim their financial health. Founder and CEO Jerry Nemorin worked on Wall Street for years, helping businesses do the same kind of debt restructuring that his company is now providing to individual consumers.
Mayvenn is an e-commerce platform that allows hairstylists to set up online beauty supply stores for free to sell bundles of hair extensions directly to their customers. Launched in 2013 by Diishan Imira, this brilliant upstart allows small-business owners to conveniently service their customers without the added burden of having to carry expensive inventory.