Five Innovations that Could Change the Way We Live, Work and Play
It's no secret that African Americans comprise a disproportionately low percentage of people working in technology. Probably less widely recognized are the contributions being made in the high-tech sector by African-American entrepreneurs and corporate executives. This week, both of those topics will get some much-deserved attention on a national stage.
During the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation later this week, there will be a discussion forum hosted by Rep. Sheila Jackson that will focus on African-American entrepreneurship in high tech. Titled, "African Americans Joining the Leading Edge of the High Tech Boom," the discussion will be led by a panel of high-profile entrepreneurs and venture capitalists:
- Scott Case, a technologist, entrepreneur and inventor who co-founded Priceline.com and served as its chief technology officer. He's currently CEO of the Startup America Partnership, which aims to drive American entrepreneurship.
- Ben Horowitz, a high-tech entrepreneur and investor best known for co-founding enterprise software company Opsware, and serving as its president and CEO before selling the company to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007. In 2009, Horowitz and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen co-founded the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in Menlo Park, Calif.
- Rep. Jared Polis, a congressman from Colorado and an entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded American Information Systems and co-founded bluemountainarts.com, an online greeting card website. In 1998, Polis launched the online florist company ProFlowers, and in 2000 he founded the Jared Polis Foundation, whose mission is "to create opportunities for success through education and access to technology."
- Charles Hudson, a venture partner at SoftTech VC, and co-founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games company based in San Francisco. Hudson is the former vice president of business development at Serious Business, a developer of social games for the social Web that was acquired by Zynga last year.
- Tristan Walker, director of business development at Foursquare, a mobile social application that mixes social, locative and gaming elements. Walker has led partnership efforts with various media entities and large retailers, including Bravo, MTV, CNN, New York Times, NBA and Starbucks.
- Pauline Malcolm-John, executive vice president of global sales for WeeWorld, a social media and mobile applications website for young people. Previously, she served as director of national advertising sales at Conde Nast Business Group, and as senior regional sales manager at MySpace.
- Regina Wallace-Jones, service engineering and operations director at Yahoo. She also manages investment group Entrepreneurial Spirit Investments, serves as principal and partner at JRS & Associates Real Estate Investment and Development Group, and tutors mathematics.
- Amos Winbush III, founder and CEO of CyberSynch, a New York-based technology company that specializes in universal data synchronization and transfer. At 26, Winbush grew the company from a small business operating out of his studio apartment to a disruptive technology valued at $20 million. He recently was recognized as Black Enterprise's Innovator of the Year for 2010 and named to Inc. Magazine's "30 under 30," as well as in Entrepreneur Magazine's "100 Brilliant Companies" for 2010.
The forum will take place this Friday, beginning at 10:00 a.m., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. It's open to the public and attendees will be able to ask questions, so if you happen to be in the D.C. area, it would be a great opportunity to learn more about African-American high-tech entrepreneurship.