The 25 Most Influential African-Americans In Technology

Charles Hudson
Charles Hudson, CEO of Bionic Panda Games

AFRICANGLOBE – Diversity in Silicon Valley has become a hot topic lately. In a one-and-a-half year long investigation, we probed 20 of the most influential technology companies in the U.S.

What they found: racial minorities and women are generally underrepresented in management roles. And those roles are typically dominated by White and Asian men.

So yes, there are fewer Blacks in technology compared to White and Asian men, but it doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Wayne Sutton, a former partner at the NewMe accelerator and founder of PitchTo, says that there are tons of African-Americans throughout the country doing amazing things in the field of technology, but a lot of people just haven’t heard about them.

As part of the discussion regarding Blacks in technology, questions regarding racism, implicit networks, and racial bias have emerged.

“The bias in Silicon Valley is about creating great companies, solving big problems, making a lot of money, and impacting the world,” Sutton says. “That’s the bias. If you’re doing that in Silicon Valley, no matter what, you have a chance.”

But Brian Watson, an analyst at Union Square Ventures, doesn’t necessarily agree with Sutton’s sentiments.

“It’s clear that there is always a bias,” Watson said. “And it’s annoying and it’s frustrating, but you can get around that. There’s also an argument that because there’s a bias, in a weird way, the bias can also lead to some opportunities.”

Bias or no bias, there are a number of African-Americans in technology that are doing great things.

Some are high profile executives, some own their own venture capital firms, and others are making technology more accessible to people all over the world.

The list and rankings are subjective, so please feel free to let us know in the comments if we missed anyone.

 

25. Will Lucas

Founder and CEO, Creadio 
Will Lucas founded brand marketing technology company Creadio back in 2003. He recently launched Classana, an educational resource discovery engine.

Lucas is also the organizer behind TedXToledo, which is now in its second year.

24. Stacy Spikes

Stacy Spikes’ MoviePass is one of the most exciting things to happen to the movie business in a while. It’s essentially Netflix for movies still playing in theaters.

Before co-founding MoviePass, Spikes was a long-time marketing executive who recently delved into the tech world. He’s considered one of the leaders of film entertainment marketing. Before starting MoviePass, Spikes founded the Urbanworld Film Festival, which is now the largest of its kind in the world. Urbanworld has premiered more #1 films than any other North American Film Festival, including Sundance and Tribeca.

23. Hamet Watt

Co-founder, MoviePass
Hamet Watt is a former entrepreneur in residence at True Ventures. Before co-founding MoviePass alongside Stacy Spikes, he founded full-service media buying platform NextMedium, and health app bLife.

22. Don Charlton

CEO, The Resumator
Don Charlton has changed the way hiring gets done online.

During the most recent presidential election, both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney used The Resumator to handle all of the job applications coming in.

Before founding The Resumator, Charlton established himself as an award-winning interactive designer.

21. Majora Carter

Founder, Sustainable South Bronx, Startup Box: South Bronx
Majora Carter recently opened up a new startup incubator and tech education center in South Bronx to foster entrepreneurship.

“There is a dramatic shortage of engineering talent in the U.S. labor force, and we want to fill that gap with people who could otherwise end up in the criminal justice and welfare systems,” she recently told Fast Company. She says most of the talent in the South Bronx either leaves or doesn’t get “nurtured into something positive.”

In 2010, Carter was touted as one of the 100 most creative people in business. She’s also a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster.

20. Wayne Sutton

Founder and CEO, PitchTo
Wayne Sutton founded PitchTo to help investors make smarter decisions and entrepreneurs perfect their pitches.

Before founding PitchTo, Sutton was a partner at the NewMe accelerator where he advised startups in product development and customer acquisition strategies, among other things. Sutton has more than 10 years worth of experience in Internet technology, and has advised numerous startups, including Tioki, Gokit, and StockofU.

19. Kimberly Bryant

Founder, BlackGirlsCode
Kimberly Bryant wants to ensure that young Black girls have the opportunity to learn how to code. In 2011, Bryant founded BlackGirlsCode, a six-week program that teaches basic programming concepts, and gives underrepresented youths the chance to learn about robotics, and a wide range of other technological concepts.

Before founding BlackGirlsCode, Bryant spent about a decade in biotechnology where she held several management roles at companies including Genentech, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, and Merck.

18. Jon Gosier

Founder and CEO, MetaLayer
Serial entrepreneur Jon Gosier is the mastermind behind data analysis startup MetaLayer, global innovation consultancy Appfrica, and non-profit organizations HiveColab and Abayima.

Gosier is a senior fellow at TED who has given talks on topics including the democratization of data platforms and social currency.

Part Two