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.
Visionary Entrepreneur, CEO of Black Star Fund
Kwame Anku is the CEO and Chairman of the Black Star Fund, an early-stage innovation fund. Kwame has worked extensively in business development and media marketing for over two decades, entering into the tech industry after being personally recruited by the late legendary rock star Prince to develop his mobile app, overseeing business and development teams on Africa, Asia, and the US.
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.
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.
Co-CEO of US Market Access & A3 Global Collider
Chris is a serial entrepreneur with global experience. Since 2010, he has focused on bringing the lessons of Silicon Valley to entrepreneurs around the world. He is the co-founder of the US Market Access Center and the A3 Global Collider. Through USMAC, Chris has trained and mentored more than 1,000 startups from 25+ countries.
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.
Authority on Corporate Governance, Culture, Law
Lawrence Cunningham, a leading authority on corporate culture and governance, is well-known for his distinctive expertise about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. This dates to the 1996 publication of his worldwide best-selling book in collaboration with Mr. Buffett, The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, which has sold a half-million copies.
Founder & CEO of Change Catalyst
Melinda Briana Epler has over 25 years of experience developing business innovation and inclusion strategies for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and global NGOs. As CEO of Change Catalyst, Melinda works with the tech industry to solve diversity and inclusion together. Using her background in storytelling and large-scale culture change, she is a strategic advisor for tech companies, tech hubs, and governments around the world.
Founder Backstage Capital, Studio & Accelerator / 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.
Business & Technology Expert, Advisor, Global Speaker
Founder of IPA Equities and a world-renowned expert in business growth, disruptive technology, and innovation, Keith Herman implements story-based leadership to share his experiences on success through communication, attitude, team building, and empowerment.
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.
Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Author, Mentor
Bill Reichert is co-founder and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures, a well-known seed and early-stage venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Bill travels around the world giving presentations and workshops on innovation, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and technology trends.
IBM Master Inventor, AI & Technology Expert, Author
Neil Sahota (萨冠军) is an IBM Master Inventor, United Nations (UN) Advisor, Artificial Intelligence (AI) subject matter expert, Faculty at UC Irvine, and author of Own the A.I. Revolution. With 20+ years of business experience, he works with organizations to create next-generation products/solutions powered by emerging technology.
CEO of Opportunity Hub, Inclusive Startup Ecosystem Builder, Venture Capitalist, Economist
Rodney Sampson, of Opportunity Hub, is heralded as the leading inclusive startup ecosystem builder and is passionate about reducing poverty and wealth gap by advancing the cause of innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and investment as a way of life for all, with an emphasis on socially disadvantaged and under-estimated and sponsored communities in America and beyond.
Serial Entrepreneur in Social Innovation & Systems Change
Dr. Astrid J. Scholz is a serial entrepreneur in social innovation and systems change. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Sphaera, Founding Director and Treasurer of XXcelerate Fund and the Founding Director and Treasurer of Zebras Unite. Astrid’s work focuses on democratizing innovation and capital to solve today’s wicked problems.
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.
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.