Founded in January of 2019, Valence is on a mission to unlock the global power of Black professionals to create massive economic and social progress. Founders Kobie Fuller, Emily Slade, and La Mer Walker have designed a platform to connect the enormous global community of talented Black professionals with the top companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.
“We are a community of thought leaders, executives, creators, innovators and seekers. Whether they’re seasoned execs or passionate up-and-comers, our members represent the best Black talent in a few core industries that we’re initially focused on,” Fuller said
How Valence Was Born
About two years ago, Fuller was struck by the number of companies who approached him with questions about how to diversify their workforces. He realized that both tech companies and Black professionals lacked the proper tools to connect with each other meaningfully. He tried to help companies by tapping into his personal network, but that had predictable limitations.
“I have a lot of people in my network who look like myself, who are African-American but I obviously don’t know every Black professional on the planet,” Fuller said.
He realized that the desire of Black professionals to build and connect with each other was strong; he just needed to find a way to scale up the process. He wanted to do it with an elevated brand, style, and direction and for professionals to feel proud to be members of the Valence community.
Slade and Walker agreed that a network of this nature could have enormous societal and financial returns, then they began developing the business. To date, they’ve raised $2.5 million from Upfront Ventures, alongside Sinai Ventures, Human Ventures, High Alpha and angel investors like Paul Judge, Peggy Alford, and Willie Alford.
Through their platform, professionals will have the opportunity to access generational support and mentorship.
“All the mentors, all the people who could help guide you in becoming that best version of yourself professionally, should be easily accessible. And we should make it really easy for those people to offer their advice and their skillset,” Slade said. “Within Valence, we’ve made the community a lot easier to discover.”
The platform also has a feature called “Boost” that allows any member of the platform to offer themselves up for mentorship on their personal profile. Then, other members can request to meet and learn from the offering member. The feature isn’t intended to forge long-term mentorship relationships. Instead, it will allow members to receive highly-specific advice or feedback to help them solve an immediate issue.
The “Superhero” Effect
Valence’s founders are also passionate about giving their platform a “superhero” aura. They want their members to be proud to be on the platform and they want it to fuel the imaginations of young Black talent. This goal is evident in the platform’s elegant user interface and seamless user experience.
“We want people to be ambitious and proud about what they can become through this,” Walker said.
Valence aims to be more than just another job search platform. They want to bring Black success stories to the forefront of public discourse and give young professionals the opportunity to interact with Black leaders in the industry.
“We want to be a backbone or infrastructural support for everybody who’s trying to serve this community,” Slade said.
How to Get Started
Professionals interested in joining the community are invited to apply on their website. They’ve implemented an application process so they can build a well-curated community to match the needs of the industries they serve. This selection process ensures that they can serve their individual and corporate members well.