Black Women Talk Tech co-founders; and Essence Ventures CEO/founder of the New Voices Fund, Richelieu Dennis
Black women startup founders CAN create billion dollar companies! That is the belief of three innovators – Regina Gwynn, Esosa Ighodaro, and Lauren Washington – who were inspired to create “Black Women Talk Tech,” a network of support and resources for Black Women tech founders.
With research showing that Black women are the fastest growing group of female entrepreneurs, Black women in tech are no longer hidden figures; but there is a funding gap to support their innovation. However, this funding obstacle did not stop the three founders. They organized a conference in 2017 to provide an empowering experience for black women tech entrepreneurs to learn about business growth strategies and connect with investors and other tech founders.
In February 2018, they hosted, “The Roadmap to Billions” Black Women Talk Tech’s 2nd annual conference, sponsored by Microsoft. The conference focus was on tearing down roadblocks and promoting #blackgirlmagic in the tech industry. The New York City Conference 2-day highlights included 20 expert panels and workshops, 44 speakers, attendees from 22 countries, a $10,000 pitch competition, 14 companies funded, and founder showcases.
The 3rd annual Roadmap to Billions 2019 Conference, scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 1 at Union West 535 W. 28th St in Manhattan, is poised to be a stand out! NEW! Black Women Talk Tech is now collaborating with Essence Ventures CEO and founder of the New Voices Fund, Richelieu Dennis, to host a $100,000 Pitch Competition at the Conference.
“We are thrilled to have this partnership to support black women entrepreneurs,” stated BWTT co- founder Esosa Ighodaro.
In order to qualify for a chance to pitch to win part of the $100,000 in prizes participants must:
• Be a Black female entrepreneur
• Run a tech or scalable company
• Apply by Feb 15, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST (For more information, visit the BWTT FAQ page at www.blackwomentalktech.com/2019-conference/#faq
Other 2019 conference features include:
• 3 FULL days of workshops, panels, showcases, networking, pampering and celebrating
• 3 Powerhouse Black Women Keynote Speakers
The engaging line up includes speakers such as – Luvvie Ajayi, an award-winning author, speaker and digital strategist who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and activism. Her debut book, I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, became an instant New York Timesbest-seller.
Arlan Hamilton, built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a fund that is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started from scratch in 2015, Backstage has now invested nearly $5m into 100 startup companies led by underestimated founders.
• A Founders Only Pre-Conference Retreat (February 27, 2019)
View the Conference Agenda at www.blackwomentalktech.com/2019-conference/
“The conference was developed from the perspective of women, the goal is to showcase the brilliance of black women in tech, create a stage for our experiences, foster deep connections and create real funding opportunities,” stated Lauren Washington.
Co-Founder Regina Gwynn added, “We believe in learning from those who are paving the way. As business owners we value the opportunity to learn from their successes and failures, and gain insight and valuable lessons that will inspire and guide other founders on their own paths to success.”
“We encourage all women to embrace Tech as a career and business opportunity. There are so many ways technology is incorporated in everyday life. The BWTT Conference and network provide a perfect forum to learn about industry resources and connect with investors,” stated Esosa Ighodaro.
ABOUT BLACK WOMEN TALK TECH (BWTT)
BWTT is a collective of black women tech founders who have a unique understanding of the challenges black women startup owners face in the industry, but most importantly they understand the contribution of these innovators. The organization seeks to identify, support and encourage black women to build the next billion-dollar business. The network is the host of an annual conference The Roadmap to Billions which was developed to provide an empowering experience for black women tech entrepreneurs to learn about business growth strategies and connect with investors and other tech founders.
The BWTT network with over 500 founders is the largest Black women Tech Forum nationally. In 2018, BWTT launched chapters in Atlanta, Georgia, New York City and San Francisco, California. To learn more, please visit www.blackwomentalktech.com and their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
THE FOUNDERS OF BLACK WOMEN TALK TECH:
Esosa Igohdaro, Cofounder & President, CoSign
After over six years at Citigroup, Brooklyn native, Esosa Ighodaro became the cofounder of COSIGN. She heads branding, marketing, sales, external partnerships and communications. COSIGN is a platform that allows users to earn money by turning their photos into digital storefronts. COSIGN creates a win for the content creator, retailer and customer by allowing users to “tag” items within content they upload to social networks and blog sites & if their followers purchase the items, they receive a commission.
Regina Gwynn, CoFounder & CEO, TresseNoire Beauty
Regina Gwynn is a retail marketing veteran who has led brand campaigns for Macy’s Inc, The Apparel Group, SXSW, The Fader, GQ Magazine, and RoC Beauty. A long time ‘naturalista’, her challenges in finding convenient styling options led her and her Co-Founder to launch TresseNoire, the leading on-location beauty booking app designed for women of color in 2014. This app was featured on Centric TV, Black Enterprise, Madame Noire, and ABC News. Regina is on a mission to empower women of all textures with quality stylists who can give them back some quality time.
Lauren Washington, Cofounder & CEO, KeepUp and Co-Founder of Fundr
KeepUp, a productivity app that lets you take back your life from social media, without missing out on important moments, tracks 12 major life events from six social media sites and puts you in control of who you follow, what events you see and when you get updated. In addition, the cloud-based platform uses social listening to help businesses create real-time, hyper-personalized ads. KeepUp is a winner of the $5 million startup competition, 43North, and has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today and AlleyWatch. In 2018, Lauren founded her second company, Fundr, a website that helps match investors with 20 startup companies with the opportunity to provide funding and keep track of investment dollars. Lauren has a B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management.