Racial justice group unveils ‘Black Tech Agenda’ as roadmap for Congress

Rashad Robinson, founder of the racial justice organization Color of Change, believes that for far too long, Silicon Valley behemoths have prioritized profits over the well-being of Black consumers. The group is now laying out its most detailed vision for how lawmakers can intervene.

Some of the group’s ideas, such as limiting discriminatory use of personal data and requiring companies to test their algorithms for biases, have already been enshrined in legislation. However, few, if any, have become law. Others appear to be breaking new ground by urging Washington to take a more aggressive regulatory response.

The agenda calls for the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to incorporate a civil rights lens into merger reviews, allowing them to “challenge and reverse mergers that fail racial equity impact assessments.”

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Black entrepreneurs face tough adventure landing venture capital

Finding more venture capital for minority and women-owned start-up firms could help the region’s business community in a variety of ways, according to Doug Villhard, director of Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School’s entrepreneurship program.

According to Bloomberg, Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx founders will receive less than 2% of total venture capital in 2021. Female entrepreneurs received only 2% of venture capital funding.

“This funding gap shortchanges not only underrepresented founders but also the vitality of the entire innovation community,” Villhard said.

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We need more talented Black VCs.

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.”

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A Black-led tech startup looks to combat racial bias in criminal justice

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.

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Founders Unplugged

Founders Unplugged: Leveling up with Leonard Tatum!

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.


 Amazon amplifies Black-Owned businesses and entrepreneurs

To commemorate the first anniversary of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator, the company announces a new initiative to help champion sustainable growth for Black-owned businesses on the Amazon platform in a blog post.

The first step in the new initiative is the creation of a Black-owned Business badge, which allows customers to find and shop for black-owned businesses. The badge, which is currently in testing for select eligible products, can be found in the search results and Additional Details section.

“As part of Amazon’s commitment to supporting and empowering the Black community, we are testing a new badge to make it even easier for customers to identify and shop products that come from Black-owned businesses,” said Dharmesh Mehta, vice president of Amazon Worldwide Selling Partner Services, in a statement. “We are eager to learn how the badge best helps customers discover Black-owned businesses and how it can help Black entrepreneurs succeed and grow in Amazon’s store.”

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Investors detail their red (and green) flags for startups seeking venture dollars

The startup community has been hit where it hurts in recent months: the balance sheet. With inflation rates at all-time highs, a recession looming, and venture capital behemoths like SoftBank threatening a long winter, VC money is becoming increasingly scarce. So, where does that leave startups that rely on that cash to expand their operations?

Our friends at TechCrunch spoke with investors from a variety of growth stages and industry sectors, with a focus on mobility and climate tech, to learn how they see the funding landscape today and what red flags — and green flags — they see for startups looking to raise another round. Most of the investors we spoke with agreed that there is a general pullback and conservatism in funding, with many VCs being much more deliberate in their due diligence.

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Social Media News: TikTok supporting black business owners, Snapchat available on Chrome

Whether or not your small business has an eCommerce website, social media can drive customers to your door. Social media is now an essential part of doing business, and it is one of the more cost-effective marketing tools available to small business owners.

Tiktok is quickly becoming a platform for more than just dance videos. It has evolved into an extremely effective marketing tool for both large and small businesses. If you want to engage your audience, learning how to make TikTok videos will be beneficial. This article will teach you how to create the best TikTok video for your company.

TikTok has announced that applications for the third round of their Support Black Businesses accelerator program are now being accepted. The program is intended to raise the visibility of Black-owned businesses on TikTok’s growing platform by providing exclusive access to resources, benefits, and networking opportunities.


Ally Financial Celebrates Black Business Month with $30M investment to support black entrepreneurship

Did you know that Black Founders begin their startup journey with at least $72,000 less than their white counterparts on average? Aside from receiving less capital, Black businesses are three times more likely to experience lower profits as a result of less funding. Many more issues have been addressed by Black founders in recent years. In honor of Black Business Month, Ally Financial has pledged to address the issues and help founders of color rise back up in their businesses by investing $30 million in venture capital funds. 

Ally Financial will also partner with Fearless Fund as a primary investor to develop programs that advocate for and encourage Black entrepreneurship, as well as education on opportunities to grow their wealth, inspiring an entire generation of future Black business owners.In addition to assisting and honoring Black-owned businesses across the country, the finance firm will make a consistent effort to assist businesses and their founders with any necessary funding and consultative services. Fearless Venture Capital Week, a celebration of women entrepreneurs, will be held now that Ally is a top investor with Fearless Fund. 

Ally Financial, an industry-leading digital bank holding company committed to its saying of “Do It Right,” has a reputation for standing by its consumers on a commercial and corporate level. Ally is made up of independent auto finance and insurance operations and has won awards for its digital bank service, which offers unique mortgage lending, POS personal lending programs, and an array of deposit products not offered by other competitors. 

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What National black business month means to America

Entrepreneurship has long been valued in the Black community and is a vital contributor to the national economy. Recent external forces like the pandemic and the wavering economic crisis have reminded us why we have to celebrate black entrepreneurs, who our communities are, and how to keep growing.

This historic annual event allows consumers and business owners to not only support Black businesses, but also give them a platform to grow their business and build wealth for current and future generations of African Americans.

The origins of National Black Business Month can be traced back to 2004 when two Black entrepreneurs, engineer Frederick E. Jordan and John William Templeton, president and executive editor of eAccess Corp., a scholarly publishing company, designated August as such. Jordan was obligated to highlight and encourage Black business owners like himself after overcoming significant obstacles.

The duo aimed to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African American businesses, to highlight and empower Black business owners all over the world.

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