It can’t be said enough: Black women are leading the charge in entrepreneurship.
Access to capital is still extremely low, but Black female founders are maintaining successful startups through continuous hard work and innovation, especially in tech. From Silicon Valley to tech’s newest mecca, Atlanta, Black women are using a wide range of technology to shift the culture across all industries — beauty, health, food, agriculture, economy, you name it.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, here are seven Black women founders spreading their magic to make a difference in and through tech.
Jessica Matthews, Uncharted Power
The self-proclaimed mashup of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Beyoncé, Jessica Matthews founded renewable energy startup Uncharted Power in 2011. The smart tech company addresses the generation, transmission and storage of power in underserved communities. In March 2020, Los Angeles Lakers legend and business magnate Magic Johnson joined Uncharted Powers’ board of directors to help expand its partnerships and programs in U.S. communities. Over the years, Matthews has raised $12.5 million, including investments from Disney, according to CNBC.
Kathryn Finney, digitalundivided
Tech pioneer Kathryn Finney wants to empower economic growth in Black and Latinx communities. With digitalundivided, Finney uses data and research to expand women entrepreneurship and thought leadership to shift the culture toward inclusion and give women-led companies more access to resources. These ecosystems of change are self-funded by Finney as she works to provide capital for others’ success.
Julia Collins, Zume Pizza
San Francisco-raised tech boss, Julia Collins, founded Zume Pizza, a robotic food prep company that automates the making of the savory dish. In late 2018, after a $375 million investment, Zume was valued at $2.25 billion, making her the first Black woman to co-found a billion-dollar company. Today, she is the founder and CEO of Planet FWD, a regenerative agriculture startup to help reverse climate change. Planet FWD is currently backed by Cleo Capital.
Asmau Ahmed, Plum Perfect
Ahmed is a Columbia Business School grad helping women find their skin’s perfect beauty matches with Plum Perfect, a color-analyzing mobile app. The technology scans users’ selfies and based on variables extracted from the image, it recommends a variety of products. The idea was born of the chemical engineer’s frustration with finding a lipstick hue that complimented her complexion. Now, she is helping women better identify looks without the hassle of fruitless shopping. Ahmed has raised over $10 million in investments, according to Crunchbase.
Lauren Washington, Esosa Ighodaro, and Regina Gwynn, Black Women Talk Tech
Ighodaro, Gwynn, and Washington are tech powerhouses each in their own right. Ighodaro founded CoSign, a way for millennials to find and monetize their style choices; Gwynn developed TresseNoire, an on-demand, at-home beauty app that brings hairstylists to your front door; and Washington’s Fundr platform collects data to assess the successfulness of startups.
But together, these future-thinking entrepreneurs are even more dynamic. They created Black Woman Talk Tech, a collective of Black women businesswomen, investors and the like helping one another illuminate a path toward billionaire status.