For the third year in a row, the Black Women Talk Tech conference is convening in New York City to inspire founders and funders, alike.
Backstage Capital’s Founder and CEO Arlan Hamilton will serve as the first day’s keynote speaker, followed by Founder and CEO of Planet Forward Ventures and Zume Pizza, Julia Collins, on the second day of the conference.
Other conference speakers include Budgetnista CEO Tiffany Aliche, author and activist Luvvie Ajayi, and VisuWall founder, Kobi Wu.
Black Women Talk Tech started in 2017 by Esosa Ighodaro, Regina Gwynn and Lauren Washington, three women who’d already founded their own startup companies. The trio wanted a place for Black women business owners to network and partner without the everyday hurdles of being a minority in tech.
Washington said that although the collective’s goal is to create a safe space for Black women founders, the entire conference isn’t just about diversity and inclusion.
“It’s not just a ‘woe is me’ kind of conversation,” Washington said. “We’re talking business.”
Before creating Black Women Talk Tech, Washington founded KeepUp, a productivity app that helps people take more control over their social media use.
Ighodaro founded CoSign in 2013 as a way to help users find items they want to buy on social media. Then there’s Gwynn’s company, TresseNoire, which is a beauty booking platform that was created in 2014.
Ighodaro, Gwynn, and Washington met at other tech conferences and sparked the idea to found Black Women Talk Tech after feeling out of place. Washington said that the speakers and programming did not reflect Black women’s experiences in tech.
“Obviously, it’s not just us looking for those connections and that support,” Washington said. “[BWTT] wasn’t supposed to be a conference — it wasn’t even supposed to be a company, but we found that the need was so great.”
The three women are now juggling their own companies with their expanding collective. Since its inception, Black Women Talk Tech has branched out from its headquarters in New York to additional locations in San Francisco and Atlanta. The collective is hoping to expand to at least seven other locations across the world including Washington, D.C., Austin and London.
The conference kicks off on February 27 and runs until March 1. For tickets to the conference and other details, check out Black Women Talk Tech here.