From Nov. 13-17 — after two years of meeting virtually in AfroTech World — roughly 25,000 people convened in Austin, TX, for AfroTech Conference 2022.
While the informational sessions, link-ups, and music, were amazing, AfroTech had even more in store for select attendees. The brand kicked it Black to the future to recognize creators, innovators, and more at the inaugural AfroTech Future Awards — a multicultural awards dinner celebrating African American advancement in technology and venture capital funding.
During the dinner, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in addition to AfroTech honoring the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in technology, it also recognized individuals or groups who promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through their career endeavors.
White House Director of African American Media, Erica Loewe, set the tone for the night with opening remarks before eight honorees received their flowers for categories that ranged from VC Firm of the Year to Founder of the Year.
VC Firm Of The Year
MaC Venture Capital was acknowledged for its ongoing investment in diverse technology startups that are in their early stages.
The award recognized the VC firm for the exceptional work they’ve done to actively progress and surpass the status quo of entrepreneurial processes for members of their portfolio while simultaneously generating returns for their investors.
Marlon Nichols — founding managing partner at MaC Venture Capital — accepted the award on the firm’s behalf.
The Dynamic Investor award recognized an individual whose work is revolutionary.
During the event, Sydney Sykes — a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners — was honored for helping to influence and change the dynamics of what it means to be someone excelling at gaining financial business investments
Future of Tech
A host of individuals received nominations for this recognition — thanks to their contributions to the world of tech through ideas that influence and shape the way we see the future of technology.
Previously, AfroTech highlighted 13-year-old Nyla Hayes for becoming the first-ever Artist-in-Residence for TIMEPieces — TIME’s Web3 community initiative.
During the conference, she was further recognized for her work, which includes having created the Long Neckie Women of the Year Collection that has featured boss women like Michelle Obama and Beyoncé.
Founder of The Year
Samir Goel and Wemimo Abbey won Founder of the Year for their work in creating a leading financial technology company helping to bridge the racial wealth gap.
AfroTech Changemaker Award
Gracie’s Corner continues to impact children and families across the world through content that captivates audiences across platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. To date, they have brought in more than a combined total of 22.4 million views.
During the awards ceremony, the platform was honored for helping to reimagine and improve the way we see the world around us.
AfroTech Executive Changemaker
When you have a significant impact at the highest ranks of a company, it’s only right that you land the AfroTech Executive Changemaker award.
The recipient — Matt Story, Global Brand Partnerships and Advocacy Programs at Visa — has worked to build impactful marketing initiatives and programs geared toward uplifting key stakeholders and underserved communities.
AfroTech Corporate Catalyst
Alisha Johnson Wilder has worked for Apple for over seven years, leading efforts surrounding environment, policy, and social initiatives geared toward further promoting diversity.
With 10+ years in the industry alone under her belt, Wilder has become cemented as an expert in the field. It has allowed her to use her voice to redefine corporate initiatives, thus landing her the AfroTech Corporate Catalyst award at this year’s conference.
Women in Tech
Black women in tech are the gift that keeps on giving.
Following Dr. Iman Abuzeid earning her medical degree, she co-founded Incredible Health — a platform that uses an algorithm to match hospitals to nurses — back in 2017, as previously reported by AfroTech.
Now, not only is she one of the few Black women founders to lead a billion-dollar company, but she also becomes the first to earn the Women in Tech award.