CEO of nēdl, Serial Entrepreneur
Ayinde Alakoye is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of nēdl, his third live broadcast radio streaming venture. Ayinde was also the creator of the original iheartradio app served as a Speechwriter, Staffer, and Senior Message Advisor for Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, during both elections.
Founder of Capway and Sheena Allen Apps, Author
Sheena Allen is the founder of Capway, a neobank for those who do not fit into the traditional banking system, and Sheena Allen Apps, a successful media tech company. Born in Terry, Mississippi, Sheena travels the world speaking on the importance of inclusion in tech and entrepreneurship. Sheena has been featured in various publications and most recently was part of the Forbes 30 under 30 for 2019.
Co-founder of Tangelo Technologies
Antonio pioneered the adoption of early social media platforms at Fortune 500 companies and managed the integration of emerging technologies. Currently, he is co-founder of Tangelo Technologies, a Venture Studio and Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley where he believes that technology can and must contribute to society in positive, ethical, equitable, and scalable ways.
Co-founder Tangelo Technologies, Author
Rebecca Altamirano has dedicated her professional life to working within underrepresented communities to open up access to the culture of power. Her professional path has given her deep hands-on experience on working with the underserved and underrepresented. Many of these experiences she has shared as a co-author of “Be The Change: Reinventing Schools for Student Success”
Co-Founder & CEO of O.school, Author
Andrea Barrica, author of Sex Tech Revolution, is CEO and Co-founder of O.school, a judgment-free multimedia platform to learn about sexuality and pleasure. Previously, Andrea co-founded accounting and tax platform, inDinero.com, where she led sales and operations. She also served as a venture partner and entrepreneur-in-residence at 500 Startups.
Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark
Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a platform that bridges online and offline experiences to make entertainment more diverse, inclusive, connected and essential. Best's talks on crowdfunding, pitching, and building equitable startups have been viewed millions of times and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in companies across the globe.
General Partner, Lightship Capital
Brian Brackeen is a General Partner at Lightship Capital, the Cincinnati-based VC firm dedicated to backing underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Midwest. Brian lectures extensively around the world on entrepreneurship, code, the digital economy, AI and machine learning — and participates in mentorship programs for organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and The School District of Miami.
Founder of Thurst
Morgen Bromell is a founder and technologist working to make tech more accessible to people of color through justice-based initiatives and tech activism. Apart from being the founder of Thurst, a dating app for the LGBTQIA+ community, they are also deeply invested in community building and documenting queer histories, particularly how queer and trans people use digital resources and online platforms to navigate our world.
Founder and CEO of Win-Win, Former Pro-Athlete
Mike Brown, a pro-athlete turned self-taught coder, transitioned from tackling to tech and went on to be the founder and CEO of Win-Win, a platform powered by gaming and giving. Win-Win enables pro athletes and influencers to monetize their fanbase and help brands engage with end consumers.
Cofounder & COO of ShearShare
Courtney Caldwell is the Cofounder & COO of ShearShare, the first on-demand salon and barbershop space rental app. She is also an award-winning entrepreneur and tech founder and has spent two decades building winning teams in tech marketing.
Cofounder & CEO of ShearShare
Dr. Tye Caldwell is the Cofounder & CEO of ShearShare. Recognized as a tech visionary and industry pioneer, Dr. Caldwell’s mission is to help beauty and barbering professionals around the world maximize their earnings potential. He has worked in beauty for 25 years as a master barber-stylist, educator, and small business coach, offering his 20+ years of industry knowledge as a proven roadmap.
COO & Partner at Tangelo
Tara Carter is a highly driven COO/Partner at Tangelo and a Partner at Backstage Capital, providing full circle guidance to startups and larger. She has over 25 years of experience in mentoring, growing and advising startups, investor relations, omni-channel marketing, business strategy, deep technology, and product development, diversity and inclusion, predictive analytics, data visualization, business intelligence, and activism.
Founder of Please Assist Me
Stephanie Cummings is the founder of Please Assist Me, an all-inclusive home management app. She is an experienced entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist, priding herself in being a minority tech founder promoting the importance of STEM education.
Founder & CEO of PopCom
Dawn Dickson-Akpoghene is a serial entrepreneur and inventor with over 19 years of experience in technology, marketing, and business development. Her most recent ventures are Flat Out of Heels and PopCom. Dawn is a seasoned professional speaker, business advisor, and angel investor. She continues to be recognized as one of the nation’s top retail tech entrepreneurs.
Co-Founder & CEO of SHYFT Power Solutions
Ugwem Eneyo is co-founder and CEO of SHYFT Power Solutions, specializing in the use of IoT software and big data to improve access to clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions in markets that struggle with grid resiliency. Ms. Eneyo explores how we use tech to create ‘grids of the future’ but particularly in emerging markets. She’s given talks on the nexus of energy and sustainable development to global thought leaders, including the World Bank.
Co-Creator of Wallbreakers
Andrea Guendelman is a leading force in creating platforms for minority professionals and the tech industry. Through her own experiences as a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer and an entrepreneur, she co-created Wallbreakers - a solution to connect talented students from underrepresented backgrounds with companies hungry for talent and looking to build inclusive teams. Andrea is considered to be a thought leader in the topics of Latinx career building and creating diverse workforces.
Founder Backstage Capital, Author & venture catalyst
Arlan Hamilton is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, while homeless. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a VC firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT.
Founder & CEO of Bandwagon
Harold Hughes is the founder & CEO of Bandwagon – an analytics and identity management company that uses Blockchain technology to help teams & entertainers create more personalized fan experiences while eliminating ticket fraud. He has become a leader in the growing startup community in Greenville, South Carolina, speaking with entrepreneurs, youth, and his peers.
Founder & CEO of Healthy Roots Dolls
Yelitsa Jean-Charles founded Healthy Roots after recognizing a need for more diverse toys and representation in children’s publishing. She has been recognized as Essence’s 50 Founders to watch and frequently speaks about entrepreneurship, social justice, and cultural competency.
Founder & CEO of Avisare
Sky Kelley is the founder & CEO of Avisare, an enterprise software marketplace simplifying the government RFP process to foster an inclusive ecosystem for small businesses. Sky found a need to help non-technology companies use technology to innovate their products and services. Her focus is on making technology simple and user-friendly with the ability to grow the bottom line.
CEO of Drop, Creative Technologist
Russell Ladson is a creative technologist whose work sits at the intersection of emerging technologies, purposeful design, and visual art. His work investigates the use of emerging technologies like AR/VR (XR) to heighten the human-to-human experience through experimental concepts around information discovery in a post-smartphone world.
Co-Founder of CurlMix
Kimberly Lewis is the co-founder of CurlMix, a clean beauty brand for curly hair. Her innovative take on clean beauty hair products has won her praise from top industry publications. Kimberly now shares her journey into entrepreneurship, balancing motherhood, and how to scale your beauty brand.
Founder & CEO of Pilotly
James Norman is a serial entrepreneur who at the age of 16 built his first online company. While previously he may have been known as a visionary in automotive product planning, over the past 10 years in the media and entertainment industry, he has become a thought leader in over-the-top media and consumer video consumption behaviors.
CEO and Co-Founder of Revry, They/Them/Theirs
Damian Pelliccione is the CEO and Co-Founder of Revry, the world’s first LGBTQ Global Content Streaming Network. With over 15 years of experience in the digital and new media world and as an avid speaker, passionate about supporting the LGBTQ community in both authentic representation and entrepreneurship, Damian has spoken at more than over 250 conferences and film festivals around the world.
General Partner of Backstage Capital, CEO of Backstage Studio
Christie Pitts is an inventor and early-stage investor at Backstage Capital and co-founder of Backstage Studio, currently leading Backstage’s global Accelerator program. She identified a passion for working with early-stage companies while working as Venture Development Manager at Verizon.
Technical Founder, CTO of Wallbreakers
Leah La Salla is the CTO of Wallbreakers, an AI-powered platform that enables companies to identify, evaluate, recruit, and retain the next generation of software engineers. As an inventor, she is best known for “hacking NASA” with a toaster (a toaster-sized neuromechanical unmanned aerial vehicle, that is!). La Salla gained a decade of experience in software engineering while teaching herself to program in an additional 9 languages becoming a polyglot software architect.
Director of Backstage Accelerator LA
Amiah Sheppard is a perpetual learner who currently is the Director of Backstage Accelerator LA. In venture capital, she daily examines the myriad ways founders harness, strategize, and utilize their unique socio-cultural location to get to their desired outcome.
Founder of Novoron Bioscience
Dr. Travis Stiles is the founder of Novoron Bioscience, which is developing therapeutics to reverse damage of the brain and spinal cord. A member of the Cherokee Nation, Dr. Stiles is a passionate advocate for diversity, equality, science and informed solutions to the world’s problems and speaks across the spectrum from innovators to policymakers to encourage the ideas and policies that will shape the future.
Managing DIrector of Backstage Accelerator, Co-founder of Bosa
Anastasia Tarpeh-Ellis is the Managing Director for Backstage Los Angeles for the recently announced Backstage Accelerator. She is passionate about empowering others, creating genuine connections, and striving towards financial independence through entrepreneurship. She co-founded bosa, a wellness and productivity app that enables consultants to provide the highest level of service to their clients.
LatinX Allyship, Co-Founder and GP of The Community Fund
Lolita Taub is a woman of color with 13 years in tech, is an investor, micro-influencer, an international keynote speaker, 2x TEDx speaker, who has been recognized for her work in venture capital and tech on Forbes, Inc.com, The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com among other publications.
Creator, Inventor, Tech Changemaker
Aniyia Williams is a creator, inventor, and tech changemaker. She serves as Executive Director of Black & Brown Founders, co-founder of Zebras Unite, and founded and led the fashion tech company, Tinsel. Aniyia addresses topics of diversity, equity and inclusion in tech, the economic future of creativity, self-awareness and mindfulness, alternatives to venture capital, fashion technology, hardware design, and parenting while building a startup.