In the venture capital community, things are changing. Two Black celebrities have become venture capitalists, partly to make the industry more inclusive. Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, The Roots’ lead rapper, joined VC firm Impellent Ventures earlier this year and spoke with Forbes about his approach there. And, from the archives, here’s a 2019 cover story about tennis superstar Serena Williams and her venture capital firm Serena Ventures, which she’s expected to focus on more after she retires from the sport. “I want to be remembered for things I’ve done off the court,” she told Forbes, “lives I’ve had an impact on and voices that have been heard through mine.”
A Black woman-led startup hopes to change the criminal justice system with its software. However, while it is currently based in Minneapolis, it does not intend to stay for long.
SIID Technologies intends to use machine learning technology to promote racial equity, fairness, and accountability in the judicial and law enforcement sectors. The startup’s ideas, which are now in the prototyping stage, have continued to pique the interest of accelerator programs both within and outside of the state.
Join us for our Founders Unplugged Series as we talk with Tatum Games CEO, Leonard Tatum
Leonard Tatum is the CEO and Founder of Tatum Games, a startup focused on analytics and advertising for mobile games. We caught up with Leonard to discuss his personal challenges, what keeps him motivated, and to hear his startup journey.
Plug In: How did you come up with the idea for your startup? Who or what influenced you?
Tatum: There is a much longer and interesting answer to this question. The short answer, however, is that developers need better tools to give their apps and games a better chance at succeeding. Only by understanding user behaviors, interests and needs can you accomplish that. There are many tools that assist with this, but I felt I could push the envelope even further, thus developing MIKROS.
Plug In: What do you admire most about your startup and your journey so far?
Tatum: I admire both the good times and bad times. We are resilient. This company started out creating content. We created mobile games. But were able to pivot and focus on developer tools, which is just as rewarding.
Plug In: What have the last few months been like for you and your company? Big wins and/or key lessons learned?
Tatum: We officially launched MIKROS and our game/developer community. If you have a mobile game, integrate MIKROS and witness how much the service works on your behalf to help you understand and better connect with your users, offer tips for improvements in your product, help balance your game economy, protect you from trolls and hackers, increase your revenue and earnings, and so much more. All in a matter of minutes. Integration is fast and easy.
Plug In: Tell us about one challenge you’ve overcome personally or professionally and what did you learn from the experience?
Tatum: I have been part of and have worked in the tech scene for over two decades. There have been many challenges I overcame. And there are many more still to come. One lesson I have internalized that I can share with you is that sometimes if you want things to be fair and more appealing then you must take matters into your own hands. No one else is obligated to be fair and do what is right by you. You hope for these things, but people have the tendency to fall short. When I started this business several years back, I made the decision to be fair to myself, and do right by others. That is, in a major way, what we do and embody at Tatum Games. We operate differently than other tech companies.
Plug In: How has Plug In’s Accelerator program helped you build your company?
Tatum: What I appreciate most about Plug In’s Accelerator are the people involved. From the organizers to the mentors, the volunteers and fellow cohort colleagues, everyone is inviting and genuinely wants to see you win. That’s a great confidence booster.
Plug In: With the changing market conditions, how do you stay rooted to your business?
Tatum: This business was started with the intent of changing the analytics and overall game service market. So, we are the pioneers in this space. All other competing services are over a decade old. We are the new players to the table showcasing innovation and what is relevant for developers today. But at the same time, we are always staying on trend, adjusting, and adapting.
Plug In: How do you define success?
Tatum: We create game services to help developers. We are genuine in our desire to see you win. That is how we define our success.
Plug In: What does the future of your company look like?
Tatum: We want to see every game using MIKROS. The more developers that choose MIKROS, the more powerful the service becomes since it is the only analytics service with a shared community component. We want to grow stronger together with the developers that we help.
Plug In: How can readers help you with anything in your startup right now? (Immediate needs, open positions, etc.)Tatum: We are currently raising our Seed Round. Warm introductions to investors is our main ask. Other than this, spread the word about MIKROS. If you know anyone in gaming, tell them to try MIKROS out and see for themselves why we are quickly becoming the world’s leading in-app analytics service.
Through all of Tatum’s efforts, from his two decades worth of experience in tech to his robust knowledge of data and analytics there is no-one more equipped to face the challenges that other developers face than Tatum Games. We will be rooting for Tatum through his seed round and we can certainly say that we look forward to any and all endeavors that may come from Tatum Games in the future.