Urban Tech Connect 2020 Begins with a Power-Packed Day 1

The virtual Urban Tech Connect conference kicked off Tuesday with exciting conversations, fundraising insights straight from VCs, informative workshops, a futuristic next-gen tech showcase, and live judging for our pitching contest.

In case you missed any part of it, here are some of the highlights:

Move forward, together. Bonin Bough, chief growth officer of Triller, opened the conference with Plug In South LA Founder Derek Smith and Verizon’s executive director of community affairs and government relations Sophia Garcia.

Disrupt your industry. SoLo Funds co-founder and CEO Travis Holoway and Lisnr co-founder and CCO Rodney Williams did a fireside chat with TechCrunch editor Jonathan Shieber about challenging the status quo.

VCs are entrepreneurs, too. Henri Pierre-Jacques of Harlem Capital Partners, Jeff Cherry of Conscious Venture Lab, Noramay Cadena of MiLA Capital, Candice Matthews Brackeen of Lightship Capital shared their experiences raising capital with Mack Kolarich, chief product officer of Different Funds.

Startup pitching contest live judging. Our judges asked contest finalists tough questions. Tune in on Thursday to find out who they picked as the winners.

“We need to see money getting wired, people getting hired.” Lo Toney, founding managing partner of Plexo Capital, let us into his thinking as a VC entrepreneur during a fireside chat with J.P. Morgan Asset Management executive director Tiffany Johnson Lewis.

Leverage your networks. Greycroft investor Brentt Baltimore and Cleo Capital managing director Sarah Kunst discussed how to reset your fundraising strategy in 2020 with OPV partner Austin Clements. Use social platforms to gain access to high-level networks that historically underserved communities didn’t have the advantage of inheriting.

Spotlight on next-gen talent. We got a glimpse of the future from the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation’s showcase, where students harnessed advanced coding language skills to build an impressive photo-based app.

Keep your business SAFE. Karla Ballard Williams, co-founder and CEO of Ying, highlighted the SAFE acronym for “simple agreement for future equity” during her talk on how to crack the product development code, even if you’re not a tech developer.

“Stay scrappy, keep your vision as long as you can, maintain your control.” Our panel on building the Black video game studio of the future sparked an energetic conversation about representation, ownership, design, and creating completely new systems.

The pandemic is spurring tech innovation. John Imah, head of gaming and entertainment at Snap Inc., gave us the state of play with Covid-19. He encouraged founders to keep innovation and ownership front of mind.

Day 2 of Urban Tech Connect takes place on the virtual conference platform Hopin. On deck: Squad founder Isa Watson, Mahmee’s Melissa Hanna, LeaseQuery’s George Azih, Eight Sleep’s Alexandra Zatarain, “unicorn” tech founder Julia Collins, and investor and NBA great Baron Davis. Check out the full agenda here.

Still haven’t registered to attend? No problem. You can still grab a ticket for Day 2 and Day 3 for an engaging lineup of keynotes, workshops, and conversation. We’ll see you online.

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