As CES 2021 draws to a close — during what is, undoubtedly, a most interesting time for the long-standing tech trade show — companies are wrapping up their presentations of the most innovative tech that they hope will make a difference in this year and beyond.
While “big tech,” as an industry, has disproportionately favored well-monied white men, Black-owned companies are also starting to get their due. According to Deutsche Bank Research, the COVID-19 pandemic leveled the proverbial playing field between “big tech” and Black and Latinx developers.
However, this research also showed that 76 percent of Black workers, and 62 percent of Hispanic workers, could get shut out or be under-prepared for 86 percent of jobs in the U.S. by 2045 — and but for the “COVID reckoning,” technology could leave Black people in what the report called “an unemployment abyss.”
That’s why it’s all the more important to highlight Black-owned tech companies who are making waves at such trade shows as CES 2021. The long-standing tech trade show — which has gone virtual this year due to the pandemic — is giving an unprecedented platform to more than 1,000 tech start-ups, of which a select few are helmed by Black men and women.
Here’s a selection of companies to keep your eye on in 2021 and beyond.
CES 2021: SpokeHub
SpokeHub’s Chief Strategy Officer John McAdory comes to the table with an extensive scientific background — specifically, in the field of oncology. Similar to Clubhouse, SpokeHub is a social media platform that allows its users to join private or public “hubs” of interest using what the company calls “extended reality” to match you to your preferred interests. Extended reality seems to be a hybrid of AR, VR, MR, and AI, which is perhaps why it took center stage at CES 2021.
CES 2021: WeatherCheck
WeatherCheck’s founder Demetrius Gray boasts about running the “nation’s only Black-owned meteorology-focused tech company,” and he certainly has an interesting concept. Targeting mortgage and insurance companies, WeatherCheck monitors severe weather (like hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes) and keeps property owners informed about the potential losses they may suffer as a result.
CES 2021: Centiment.io & Centiment Capital
Are you a Black tech innovator? Are you looking for investment capital for your game-changing idea? CES 2021 has a priceless gift for you: the introduction of a Black-owned technology company and venture capital firm dedicated to investing in other Black-owned and Black-led tech firms like yours. Founder Micah Brown is the creative force behind companies like FilmFundr, which uses AI to connect indie filmmakers with funding for their projects. He’s now turning his attention to finding talented Black tech innovators who have ideas in the deep tech and neuroscience spaces.
CES 2021: Pigeonly
Pigeonly founder and CEO Fred Hutson created a way for people to keep in touch with their incarcerated loved ones. Pigeonly does so in a simple and affordable way that prevents crazy charges from collect calls. Hutson has grown his company to become one of the largest providers of inmate services in the United States. Kudos to him for providing a much-needed service to people that the system tends to forget.