October 31, 2019

15 Unsung Black British Founders in Tech

As we near the end of Black History Month in the UK, our hope is that black British history surpasses a month’s celebration to become an integral part of British history. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of unsung black heroes across British history, from Alice Kinloch, the South African activist who came to Britain and founded the African Association, which created the first Pan-African conference in London in 1900. To others, such as modern-day educator, rapper, entrepreneur, and activist Akala. The renowned author of The Sunday Times Best Seller book, Natives, which deconstructs race, class, and modern British myths.

The propaganda of ‘British values’ is a distortion of history — Akala for The Guardian

Today, I wanted to highlight 15 unsung Black British emerging leaders in business. 15 talented founders who you may not have come across but deserve some light shone upon them for the incredible advancements they are making with technology.

1. Marshmallow

Twin brothers Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham, alongside David Goate, are co-founders of the UK-based car insurance for foreign drivers startup, Marshmallow. The FCA-regulated insurer has a 24-hour claim line and uniquely accepts foreign drivers no-claims earned in other countries. The team has ambitions to grow and insure other assets beyond cars for more fairly priced insurance cover to non-U.K. nationals.

2. Verto FX

co-founders Anthony and Ola

Verto FX graduated from YC earlier this year but was founded in 2017 by co-founders Anthony Oduwole and Ola Oyetayo. The startup offers a B2B currency exchange marketplace for international businesses and claims to be up to 9x cheaper than the banks. The businesses they serve are from emerging markets such as Africa, where access to quick, secure, and transparent low-fee FX is a problem for many businesses.

3. Symbiotica

Co-founders Christian Wayi-Wayi and Anastasia Bugaenko created Symbiotica, the intraday liquidity analytics for financial services. This startup aims to solve the issue Tier 1 banks, asset managers, and hedge funds face by accurately estimating their daily liquidity requirements.

4. Modularity Grid

Modularity Grid is building a platform to transform how standalone electrical power systems are designed, assembled, and operated for aerospace and terrestrial applications. The startup is founded by the MIT TR35 Innovator, Elizabeth Nyeko.

5. Global App Testing

Ronald Cummings-John and Owais Peer are co-founders of Global App Testing, an autonomous web and app testing company with a difference. The difference is that they help companies like Facebook and Depop test in over 105 countries on thousands of real devices, OS versions, and networks. Leveraging their global network of QA testers and proprietary software.

6. Homeshift

Kenny Alegbe and Mooktakim Ahmed are the co-founders of Homeshift, a service that helps consumers set up and manage their energy, internet, council tax, and water bills all from one place. Homeshift also supplies energy and internet services, helping consumers save more on their bills.

7. CodeREG

Stacy-Ann Sinclair [left] and co-founder Samuel D Watts

Stacy-Ann Sinclair graduated from Entrepreneur First’s accelerator program in 2018 and became the founder and CEO of CodeREG. A startup that automatically monitors, verifies, and enforces compliance for financial services firms through machine-executable regulation. The startup has aspirations to make regulatory updates as easy as software updates with its smart compliance software.

8. R-Grid

Dr Amber Michelle Hill

Dr Amber Michelle Hill is the founder and CEO of a new startup called R.grid, which streamlines medical research processes. Amber was a postdoctoral researcher at UCL, a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow, a global entrepreneur for the Department for International Trade, and a part of the 12th cohort in Europe for Entrepreneur First.

9. Karisma Kidz

Erika Brodnock and Dr Amanda Gummer are the co-founders of Karisma Kidz, the gamified emotional intelligence platform to teach children aged 3–8 emotional literacy in a fun and easy way. The startup previously graduated from both the Wayra and Zinc accelerator programs.

10. Mobilus Labs

Mobilus is reinventing the way we experience voice communication with a wearable voice platform for teams of any size, at any range, and in any environment. Jordan McRae is the founder and CEO, leading a multi-disciplinary team of specialists in electronics, firmware, software, product design, and mechanical engineering.

11. Arthronica

Letizia Gionfrida sits on the board of the Imperial College London Venture Mentoring Service as well as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Johnson & Johnson. Letizia is also the founder and CEO of a startup spun-out from the bio-engineering lab of Imperial College, Arthronica. The MedTech, AI-powered patient monitoring and rehabilitation platform.

12. 9Fin

9Fin is a fintech startup providing an AI-powered data analytics platform that helps fixed-income professionals save time and make smarter decisions. Created in 2016, co-founders Huss EL-Sheikh and Steven Hunter have gone on to work with law firms and asset managers and have been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal.

13. OpenSensors

OpenSensors are building technology focused on lowering the cost and barriers to entry for the Internet of Things. The startup helps companies make smarter decisions about their real estate by analyzing things such as utilization and occupancy in real time. Yodit Stanton is the founder and CEO.

14. Define

Nnamdi Emelifeonwu is a trained solicitor and co-founder of Define alongside Feargus MacDaeid. Define has a mission to make reading, understanding, and drafting terms simple for legal professionals. The startup joined Fuse, the Allen & Overy accelerator program for legal tech, earlier this year.

15. Neu Robotics

Cyril Lutterodt is the founder of Neu Robotics, an early-stage advanced robotics lab. They 3D print carbon fiber drones and use GPU (supercomputers) to fly around and collect data for measuring the size of buildings and tracking foot traffic and vacancies. More or less providing insights and analytics to infrastructure businesses via their platform.

As a black British-born business builder, I uniquely understand and empathize with the stories of the emerging leaders above. The true benefit of supporting more founders from different backgrounds is that they deliver a diversity of thought to the market and, therefore, create more value for consumers like you and me. You can start by supporting them by following them on social media, supporting their products, and spreading the word.

You can subscribe to my newsletter to learn more about the founders and investors across the globe from diverse backgrounds.
PS. You can check out my new book, Breaking into New Careers here.
Andy Ayim

Andy is Managing Director of Backstage Capital London. Previously a Product Manager who has traveled and worked in over 40 countries in the last five years. He is passionate about telling stories about founders & investors from diverse backgrounds and improving Tech Inclusion.

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