‘When it comes to the Black community in tech, there is a lot that is left to be desired in how we are supported. As a majority minority city, Miami has the chance to change that.’ – Evan Leaphart, Kiddie Kredit, Black Men Talk Tech
By Riley Kaminer
So far this year, startups with at least one Black founder have received 1.2% of overall venture dollars invested in the US, according to Crunchbase. This is less than Black founders had raised at the same time last year.
In an effort to support Black entrepreneurs, collective Black Men Talk Tech will be hosting its fourth annual Unicorn Ambition Conference on October 20th and 21st in Downtown Miami.
The conference will feature a wide range of speakers, providing insights and resources to Black entrepreneurs and allies. Organizers expect to fill the Penthouse at Riverside Wharf with upwards of 200 participants.
Evan Leaphart – founder and CEO of Miami-based startup Kiddie Kredit, a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit – is one of the event’s organizers. In an interview with Refresh Miami, Leaphart explained that the goal of the event is to shine a spotlight on Black entrepreneurs of all experience levels.
“When it comes to the Black community in tech, there is a lot that is left to be desired in how we are supported,” said Leaphart. “As a majority minority city, Miami has the chance to change that.”
Not only will this conference bring together Black entrepreneurs from around Miami. Leaphart asserted that it will also show #MiamiTech that our community of Black founders is large, successful, and growing. “It’s not just five or 10 of us out here. There are hundreds of us. I really like to see that, and to see all the new names and faces and companies driving in the tech space.”
Leaphart underscored the need to change the narrative around investing in Black founders. “VC is purely driven by bottom lines. We need to show that investing in Black businesses isn’t charity work, but rather an opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity you’re otherwise missing out on.”
In Leaphart’s estimations, this year’s conference will be a success if they are able to further develop our tech community, with a particular emphasis on Black founders. “Success looks like one founder meeting an investor. One VC allocating some of their funds towards a Black founder’s business. One software engineer that finds their next job.” Leaphart added that he hopes to see some good basketball in the after-work sessions as well.
Speakers include Henri Pierre-Jacques, Managing Partner of Harlem Capital; Jean-Pierre Barthelemy, Chief Technology Officer of OnRamp; and Chinedu Echeruo, serial entrepreneur and former founder of HopStop, a travel app that underpins Apple Maps.
The conference will also feature a Healthcare Tech pitch competition. Early stage founders have the chance to win $15,000 in cash and prizes while pitching their companies to senior GSK executives. Leaphart said that the featured startups offer a wide range of health solutions, with a focus on a person’s overall health.
WHAT: Unicorn Ambition Conference
WHO: Open to all; organized by Black Men Talk Tech
WHY: Supporting emerging and elite Black tech entrepreneurs
WHERE: The Penthouse at Riverside Wharf
WHEN: October 20th and 21st
HOW: Learn more at www.blackmentalktech.com
READ MORE ON REFRESH MIAMI:
- BMTT 2020: Black founder pipeline problem? Not a chance, says Shu Nyatta
- BMTT 2019: How do you defy the odds and raise founder-friendly funding? Read on
- Kiddie Kredit forges key partnership, kicks off crowdfunding campaign
- What are the public policy impacts of the latest tech? Experts weigh in at Lincoln Network event
- Latin American and Caribbean founders will connect with Miami’s ecosystem at upcoming TechBeach Retreat
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