The people over at REVOLT just highlighted several young, major players in tech who are making big waves in the technology industry. Two of these individuals also earned a degree at one particular black college that everyone from Drake and Diddy to Michelle and Barack Obama reps regularly and supports.
You guessed it—historically black Howard University in the nation’s capital.
Several people in the black community has spoken out over the years against many of the top tech companies in the country for not hiring more people of color—“…the nation’s top tech companies have reported less than 10 percent of the companies’ overall employees were Black (6%) or Latino (7%), compared to 27 percent in the America workforce,” writes Rashad Drakeford on REVOLT.
“For many minority entrepreneurs, they face serious hurdles in accessing capital and investors for their businesses.”
In a critic of the tech industry’s diversity, or lack thereof, technology expert and entrepreneur Angela Benton, CEO and Founder of NewMe, a platform that helps to help entrepreneurs use their non-traditional backgrounds as strengths to leverage them in business, writes, “Google reportedly has 46,170 employees worldwide. Its diversity numbers reveal that while 70% of its workforce is male, only 30% is female, a figure that’s 17% less than the representation of women in the U.S. workforce today.”
Benton added, “What is more startling is its ethnicity figures, which only accounts for the U.S.: 61% are white, 2% are black and 3% are Hispanic; 30% are Asian and 4% are of two or more races.”
Nonetheless, many new, diverse, and young go-getters in tech are paving their own road to success, despite the odds and the stats that show that “people of color in tech exist at a far lower rate than the national workforce average.”
For many minority entrepreneurs, they face serious hurdles in accessing capital and investors for their businesses.
Like Jewel Burks, 26, the CEO of Patrpic, an Atlanta based startup designed to streamline the purchase of maintenance and repair parts using computer vision technology, and also an Entrepreneur in Residence for Diversity at Google and also a graduate of Howard University. Partpic has helped to raise over a million dollars in funds to help integrate the company’s proprietary technology into mobile apps and its founder has been featured in Forbes, Black Enterprise, Essence and Glamour and other publications.
Jewel Burks is co-founder and CEO of Partpic, an Atlanta based startup designed to streamline the purchase of maintenance and repair parts using computer vision technology. Partpic has raised over $1.5 million in seed funding to integrate its proprietary technology into mobile apps and websites of parts distributors and retailers. Partpic has won numerous national competitions including the 2015 SXSW Accelerator and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest.
In addition to leading Partpic, Jewel also serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence for Diversity Markets at Google. She works to help underserved business owners attract and engage customers using Google’s business tools. Jewel has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Black Enterprise, Essence and Glamour. Prior to founding Partpic, Jewel served in management and enterprise sales roles at McMaster-Carr and Google. Jewel is a native of Nashville, TN and graduate of Howard University.
Or like Rodney Williams, 32, who holds four degrees (two masters), one of which is an M.B.A. also from Howard:
Rodney Williams, Founder/CEO of LISNR, leads one of the most disruptive companies in the IoT space and the world of mobile connectivity with a new communication protocol that is the most efficient way to connect any device with a speaker or microphone. Fresh off of their $10M Series B raise lead by Intel Capital, LISNR took the stage in 2015 racking some the world’s most coveted awards such as a Gold Lion @ Cannes for Most Innovative Mobile Technology and being selected at #12 on 2015’s CNBC Disruptor 50 to just name a few. Williams is an innovative and out-of-the-box strategic thinker who is obsessed with the ways technology will touch and improve our everyday lives.
Prior to LISNR, Williams spent over four years at Procter & Gamble as a brand manager and is most noted for being the first marketer there to co-write digital patents. Williams holds four degrees but most notably two masters, one of which is an M.B.A. from Howard University.