The stats are in — and it isn’t great news for diversity in tech.
If you were to see a headline stating that eight out of 23 UK unicorns are founded by minority ethnic people, then you could be forgiven for assuming that this is a fantastic sign of progress for diversity and representation in business. Yet a deeper dive into this data paints a different picture. The first reveal is that none of the eight have been founded by Black people. The second is that none of the founders are women.
For a long time, the tech industry has suffered from a lack of representation. But as we live through another technology revolution, then the problems of a white and male past are still being repeated today — meaning the technologies of tomorrow are still being designed by only a small section of society, instead of being truly representative. If there is to be a future that everyone can feel they have a part to play in, then the technology industry has more work to do in order to be an open and more diverse space which is accessible to all.
This doesn’t mean that steps are not being made in the right direction. There are companies and organisations doing their part to increase representation. But it is critical to the progress of the industry, and society as a whole, to ensure that representation is commonplace.
With this in mind, we want to celebrate a few organisations helping to further diversity, inclusion and representation in tech.
Nex Cubed – incubation for ethnic minority founded businesses
Nex Cubed is a California-based startup accelerator that invests primarily in underrepresented and female founders. In 2021, the organisation, which holds to the premise that ‘startups will solve the greatest challenges of this century,’ launched an inaugural Historically Black colleges and universities Founders’ Program, with the aim of providing students and recent alumni at HBCUs with access to the financial and advisory resources necessary to develop technology-enabled businesses.
Flutterwave – global transactions made easier
Founded by CEO Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave launched in 2016 as a Nigeria-based digital transactions business. With offices in Lagos and San Francisco, Flutterwave helps businesses build customisable payments applications through its APIs. Now officially classed as a ‘unicorn,’ it has processed over 140 million transactions worth more than $9 billion. The company, which provides transactional support for many small, local businesses and also helps businesses outside Africa to expand their operations on the continent, and has an impressive clientele of international companies, including Microsoft, Booking.com, Flywire and Uber.
Sunfolding – the next generation of solar
Sunfolding takes solar technology to the next level with innovative products that aim to combat the limitations of previous iterations. The company, founded by MIT-trained roboticist Leila Madrone, designs, manufactures and sells a system of products that offer performance breakthroughs across the solar industry. Currently, Sunfolding’s main product offering is an advanced solar tracker, the Sunfolding T29™ Single-Axis Tracker. Where former solar units required flat land, this tracker can accommodate more complex terrain making it easier to set up anywhere. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company has raised $32 million in funding to date.
Colorintech – creating a more inclusive tech industry
A community-focused organisation, Colorintech was founded by two Black, Silicon Valley executives who recognised a distinct lack of representation within their shared industry. They came together to create and build a community based on the belief that having a more inclusive tech industry means the development of better products, enables innovation, provides access to more diverse talent and employees and leads to a greater, positive generational impact in terms of wealth creation and closing opportunity gaps. The Europe-centric organisation runs programmes, targeted at those from ethnic minority backgrounds, that help provide access to some of the most innovative companies in the world.
Foundervine – accelerating a more diverse future for technology
Foundervine runs acceleration programmes to help future founders or startups to create, test and sustain their entrepreneurial ventures. The programmes, which are especially open to founders from diverse backgrounds, offer the opportunity to grow investor networks, increase business operations, and provide access to cutting-edge knowledge. The organisation also provides in-house training to partner organisations such as PwC UK and EY Foundation that help develop their future leaders. We are a proud partner and supporters of FounderVine.
Although the numbers for diversity and inclusion within the technology sector may seem disappointing, it is important to appreciate that they do not paint the full picture. These are just a handful of organisations that have been mentioned but there are many more out there fighting the good fight. The key is ensuring that each of them receive the recognition they deserve and become just as well known as Adobe or Samsung.
This is where Gallium Ventres can help. As a tech communications consultancy, with diverse team members ourselves, we have many years’ experience in the industry and know-how to ensure that our partners or clients are in the right place at the right time to garner the best kind of attention possible. If you are a diverse-owned tech business bringing about positive change to the industry let us know as we’d love to give a shoutout about your work and achievements.