Posts Tagged ‘Silicon Valley’

Report: Silicon Valley’s Success Doesn’t Include Blacks, Latinos

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

(National Journal) The data from this Silicon Valley jobs report shows that Silicon Valley's so-called meritocracy happens to benefit white and Asian people, while the black and Latino community suffers. The annual Silicon Valley Index had a lot of good news for the vitality of the South Bay's economy, with per capita income increasing 2.2 percent total and the tech hub adding 42,000 jobs last year. But those gains were not seen evenly across the community: whites and Asians saw per capita income increase while incomes actually fell for African American — and faster in Silicon Valley than in other parts of California or the rest of the country. Look at that huge 18 percent drop in per capita income for African Americans in Silicon Valley. It's three times the decline for the state of California and more than four times the decline seen in the U.S. The numbers for Silicon Valley, in fact, represent a growing gap: Income for the black and Latino community has declined, as the rest of Silicon Valley has gotten richer. As the president of  president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, which compiled the report, puts it: "Silicon Valley is two valleys," Russell Hancock told the Mercury News. "There is a valley of haves, and a valley of have-nots. This place that some call "post-race" happens to reward white and Asian workers more than other races. 

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20 Notable Black Innovators in Tech

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013


(Mashable) Recent studies show that only approximately 1% of tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are black. Many people blame the U.S. education system and its inadequate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curricula. Others find fault with a deficiency of basic information to help students enter these fields.

The 1% figure, however, doesn't mean there aren't black entrepreneurs and pioneers who have made noteworthy breakthroughs in the tech world.

SEE ALSO: Startup Accelerator Supports Minorities and Women in Tech

Below, we've listed 20 notable black leaders and innovators in STEM fields. Some are well-known, some should be better known, and others might still be considered up-and-coming in their industries. Nevertheless, they have all contributed to the STEM fields in novel ways.

This certainly isn't an exhaustive list by any means — there are many other notable (and often unsung) black innovators in tech. After reading, feel free to add to the list in the comments.

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Smashing Silicon Valley’s biases

Monday, August 13th, 2012

(Washington Post – editorial) In 2003, Freada and Mitch Kapor attended a fundraiser at the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, for (MS)2, a program that brought 100 disadvantaged African American, Latino, and Native American students from select public schools across the U.S. to the highly elite prep school for the summer. The program, which had changed the lives of hundreds of children, showed the students what they could achieve if they worked hard. Given the program’s results, the Kapors didn’t hesitate to make a generous donation.



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Improving Minority Entrepreneurs’ Access to Angel Capital

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

(CNN) Last night CNN aired Soledad O’Brien’s “Black in America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley,” which follows eight black tech entrepreneurs trying to raise equity capital in Silicon Valley. As it traces their stories, the documentary also interviews industry insiders about the dearth of tech startups led by black entrepreneurs, highlighting a CB Insights study that shows less than 1 percent of all venture capital investment went to digital startups with African-American founders in 2010.

Tomorrow Rutgers University will host a two-day summit that aims to collect ideas on encouraging investment in minority-owned businesses in struggling urban areas. Entrepreneurs, angel investors, and policymakers, including Newark mayor Cory Booker and members of The America21 Project will discuss the documentary. They’ll also listen as a selection of entrepreneurs present their businesses to a panel of venture capitalists and discuss how to develop an angel fund and a national network for minority entrepreneurs in urban areas.

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Do black tech entrepreneurs face institutional bias?

Friday, November 11th, 2011

(CNN) Wayne Sutton has been asking venture-capital investors and Silicon Valley executives a question that's not often broached here in the epicenter of the technology industry:

"Why aren't there more black people in tech?"

The vast majority of top executives at the leading Silicon Valley tech firms are white men. Women and Asians have made some inroads, but African-American and Latino tech leaders remain a rarity. About 1% of entrepreneurs who received venture capital in the first half of last year are black, according to a study by research firm CB Insights.

This lack of diversity in Silicon Valley made headlines last month when influential tech blogger Michael Arrington, in an interview for CNN's upcoming documentary "Black in America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley," said, "I don't know a single black entrepreneur." Arrington later recanted the statement, saying he was caught off guard by the question, but the sensitive issue sparked a public dispute between the newly minted venture capitalist and CNN's Soledad O'Brien.

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War of words breaks out over Silicon Valley diversity debate

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

(CNN) Weeks ahead of the premiere of a CNN documentary focusing on diversity in the tech industry, the charged issue is already generating sparks. A heated debate broke out on Twitter Wednesday night after a preview screening of Black in America 4.

Blogger-turned-investor Michael Arrington ignited a controversy with his comments about the visibility of minority-led companies. In the documentary, which airs November 13, Arrington talked about his difficulties finding African-American entrepreneurs to launch their ventures at his TechCrunch Disrupt conference — and suggested he would accept almost any black entrepreneur, regardless of merit.

"There's a guy, actually, his last company just launched at our event, and he's African-American. When he asked to launch — actually, I think it was the other way around. I think I begged him," Arrington told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.

"His startup's really cool. But he could've launched a clown show on stage, and I would've put him up there, absolutely," Arrington said. "I think it's the first time we've had an African-American [be] the sole founder."

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