Oakland’s first Summit on Blacks in Tech is taking place May 2nd at Impact Hub Oakland. With the technological renaissance happening in none other than The Town, there’s no better place to hold the event.

The summit seeks to address two important issues in our growing and changing economy: How do we grow and sustain an African American/African-descended presence in Oakland’s burgeoning info tech industry? And how do we ensure that African Americans in the tech community can remain in Oakland? The event begins at 9 a.m. and is free to the public (you must register for a ticket to ensure availability).

While tech companies in Silicon Valley report just 2 percent of their employees are black, times are changing. Here’s our list of 24 black entrepreneurs who are paving the way for younger generations of black leaders in the tech industry.

Roy L. Clay, Sr. | ROD-L Electronics, Inc.

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Image Credit Jim Daper YouTube Video Screenshot

K.I.T: Website

Why you should know Clay: Known as the black godfather of Silicon Valley, Clay moved from Ferguson, Missouri out West in 1958 to become one of the early pioneers in Silicon Valley. He began computer programming at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory before being recruited by Hewlett-Packard in 1965 to create HP’s computer development business. On growing up in Ferguson, Clay stated, “Blacks were not permitted to walk through neighborhoods after a certain time.”


Laura Weidman Powers and Tristan Walker | CODE2040

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Image Credit: Flickr user Knight Foundation (L), Andrew Mager (R) via Creative Commons

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Why you should know them: By 2040, America’s minorities will effectively become the majority of citizens in the U.S, and yet only 1 in 8 blacks or Latinos hold leadership roles in the tech industry. To level the playing field, Powers and Walker founded CODE2040 in 2010 while students at Stanford. CODE2040 works on building networks and opportunities for underrepresented top engineering talent.

Felix Stuckey | 2.Oakland

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Screenshot via 2.Oakland

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Why you should know Stuckey: Stuckey currently sits as co-chair for 2.Oakland, a network of organizations and support services connecting innovative technology entrepreneurs and businesses in Oakland with each other and with the world. Stuckey also serves as a program advisor for Hack The Hood, a product of Oakland Local, providing the technological skills and tools teens need to thrive in tech industries.


Stacy Spikes | MoviePass

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Featured Photo Credit Urbanworld Film Festival via Creative Commons

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Why you should know Spikes: Spikes’ career has spanned almost three decades. Beginning his career in product management, Spikes has served as the product manager for celebrity names such as Stevier Wonder, Spike Lee and Queen Latifah while working at Motown Records. Spikes’ own claim to fame, however, is thanks to MoviePass, a subscription-based service he co-founded along with Hamet Watt. With MoviePass, you can watch movies currently playing in theaters for a monthly subscription fee.

Zakiya Harris | Hack The Hood

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Screenshot via TedxDenver Youtube Video

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Why you should know Harris: Social changemaker and co-founder of Impact Hub Oakland, Harris works as the chief education officer at Hack the Hood, an award-winning nonprofit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for small businesses in their own communities. With tech diversity a hot topic these days, Hack The Hood is critical to ensuring inclusivity in the emerging tech renaissance happening here in Oakland.

Kurt Collins | The Hidden Genius Project

Photo Credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk via Creative Commons

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Why you should know Collins: Collins is the co-founder and CEO of The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based company focused on teaching computer coding and leadership to young African American men to transform their communities in the present and future.

Erik Moore | Base Ventures

Screenshot via LinkedIn

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Why you should know Moore: The founder and managing partner at Base Ventures, Moore finds his passion as an angel investor for young startups such as Socialcam, Tracks.by and Ecomom. After a chance encounter with Zappos creator Tony Hsieh in an elevator, Moore was one of the first to invest in the online shoe and clothing shop, which was acquired by Amazon.com for $2.1 billion in 2009.


Majora Carter | Sustainable South Bronx

Majora Carter portrait
Photo Credit: Flickr user Penn State Live via Creative Commons

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Why you should know Carter: In 2004, Carter spearheaded the first waterfront park black communities had in over six decades, creating the Hunts Point Riverside Park in the South Bronx. Before the park was converted into the beautiful oasis it is today, the space had been used as an illegal dumping site for decades. Carter continues her environmental justice work at Sustainable South Bronx, using green job training, community greening programs and social enterprise to address environmental issues throughout New York City while inspiring other communities across the globe.

Wayne Sutton, Kristina Omari and Christian Anderson | BUILDUP VC

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Image via BUILDUP screenshot of Team Page

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Why you should know them: Another venture capital firm, BUILDUP is designed to support an inclusive ecosystem of entrepreneurs focused on building new technologies to solve the world’s most critical challenges. BUILDUP’s mission is to connect, mentor and educate underrepresented groups in tech fields, such as women, combat veterans, people with mental and physical disabilities and the LGBT community. Alert! If you’re a startup with an idea, submit your pitch to The PUSH Tech 2020 startup pitch competition, which will take place Wednesday, May 6th in San Francisco at the Hyatt during the PUSH Tech 2020 Summit. First-prize winner is awarded $10,000.

Michael Seibel | Y Combinator

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Image screenshot via How To Start Up Youtube Video

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Why you should know Seibel: Previous co-founder and CEO of Justin.tv, as well as previous co-founder and CEO of Socialcam, seed accelerator Y Combinator hired Seibel as their first black partner to increase recruitment of minority entrepreneurs. In an interview with USA Today, Seibel stated, “What I love about Y Combinator is that it is a level playing field. If you get in, you immediately become a Silicon Valley insider.” His website michaelseibel.com is a source of knowledge for starting entrepreneurs.

Kimberly Bryant | Black Girls Code

Image Credit: Flickr user BlackGirlsCode via Creative Commons

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Why you should know Bryant: Black women comprise of only 3 percent of the tech industry. While the current statistic looks bleak, Bryant is changing the narrative with Black Girls Code, introducing computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities.

Jason Young and Tracy Moore | MindBlown Labs


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Image Credit: LinkedIn Screenshot Young (L), Moore (R)

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Why you should know them: In conjunction with Occurnow.org, MindBlown Labs’ gaming app Thrive ‘n’ Shine, available on Android and iOS devices, uses mini-games to teach players ways to strategize how they spend their money. By 2020, MindBlown Labs’ goal is to impact the lives of 20 million teens and young adults to make wise financial and life decisions. With 7 out of 10 college graduates leaving school with debt, this app is the perfect game for any high school or college grad to idle their time.

Kalimah Priforce | Qeyno Labs

Image source: Screenshot via LinkedIn page

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Why you should know Priforce: Qeyno Labs goal to bring STEM education to youth in low-opportunity communities, preventing them from being left behind in the growing technological economy. Mentorship programs like the Hackathon Academy teaches students aged 12 to 20 the skills to to design and build a web or mobile app.

Chris Bennett, Hadiyah Mujhid, Nnena Ukuku and Monique Woodard | Black Founders

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Image Screenshot via Black Founders team page

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Why you should know them: Founded in 2011, Black Founders’ mission is to increase the number of successful black entrepreneurs in technology. Black Founders operates under two organizations: Black Founders Startup Community, a charitable organization offering educational programs and conferences for black entrepreneurs, and Black Founders Startup Ventures, a for-profit venture providing finance costs for startups.

michaelD | theREGISTRY Bay Area

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Image Credit: CBS SF Bay Area Youtube video screenshot

K.I.T: Website Facebook Twitter

Why you should know michaelD: While theREGISTRY Bay Area primarily serves as a hub for all things culturally relevant to Bay Area’s African American community (check out their arts and culture section and fashion blog to stay up-to-date), the site began to devote attention to blacks in tech last summer, highlighting the latest in black tech news, events and leader profiles.

Greg Greenlee | Blacks In Technology

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Image Credit: Verizon YouTube Video Screenshot

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Why you should know Greenlee: Blacks in Technology is a labor of love, the result of Greenlee’s mission to create inclusivity in the technological world while also serving as a digital platform for current blacks in tech to connect, share and build together.

Angela Benton | NewME Accelerator

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Image Credit Flickr user Mike Wolpert via Creative Commons

K.I.T: Website Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Why you should know Benton: Founded by Benton, NewME Accelerator’s mission is to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs in the tech industry through weekly session immersions, preparing minority- and women-led startups. NewME has accelerated over 200 startups that participated in the weekly programs.


Know someone we missed? Sound off in the comments below!


9 Responses

  1. Cedric

    How about my colleague Brian Dixon, investment principal at Kapor Capital? He’s one of the few blacks doing seed stage startup vc investments. In that vein, so are Charles Hudson and Marlon Nichols.

  2. michaelD

    There’s also Kumi Rauf (Oakland Resident), founder of I Love Being Black. ILBB is the largest Facebook page focused on African and African-American content in the world, with 6 million followers.

  3. james chase

    Hi Monica
    Thanks for including Majora, but your info on her here is very old and not related to your headline….please see the Press column on sbsq.org for the info you need. Thsnks again!

  4. OaklandNative

    BRAVO OaklandLocal and Monica! Thanks for this article.


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