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Recent data from Crunchbase reveals that there has been a disproportionate decline in venture funding for Black-founded startups in the United States. A Fall Below The $1B Threshold Last year, these startups secured only $705 million in funding, marking the first time since 2016 that the figure fell below the $1 billion threshold. This sharp decline of 71% in funding to Black-founded companies starkly contrasts with the 37% decrease in overall U.S. startup funding, highlighting a widening gap in investment allocation. This drop signifies a declining share of Black-founded startups

In honor of this year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” we are exploring the intersection of the Black arts and tech. We have curated a listicle of films that showcase how Black innovators have merged their artistic vision with technological processes. From the untold stories of African-American mathematicians in NASA to the futuristic visions of Afrofuturism, these films span a broad spectrum, reflecting the diversity and richness of Black contributions to technology. Hidden Figures  This film tells the true story of three African American women working at

In Baltimore, a new social shopping platform, Xclusit, is transforming consumers’ engagement with Black-owned businesses.  Vincent Johnson’s Journey Vincent Johnson, an Ellicott City-based entrepreneur and the CEO of Xclusit, crafted the platform to empower Black businesses. Johnson, a Vanderbilt University graduate with a master’s in divinity, initially focused on Black economics.  His passion for entrepreneurship led him away from pursuing a PhD, instead dedicating himself to developing tech solutions that support Black-owned businesses. His journey in the tech world began with his first app, Coupify.  Still, through direct engagement with

Chaymeriyia Moncrief, an Alabama native, has made a mark in the tech industry as the first Black woman to own a smart glasses brand.  NSPRE  Two years after founding Tesix Wireless Network, a millennial-focused wireless carrier., Moncrief launched NSPRE to ”inspire the culture through social technology“. From its inception in 2020, the brand swiftly progressed, raising $1.5 million in funding during its launch year.  In June 2021, NSPRE established its headquarters in Alabama, reinforcing its foundation. NSPRE’s flagship product, the Smart Glasses, aims to represent a leap into the future of

Crowe LLP, in collaboration with Intuit Inc., has launched an innovative initiative called Crowe Beacon for minority-owned businesses. The Crowe Beacon Crowe LLP is a leading public accounting, consulting, and technology firm, and Intuit Inc. is the technology platform behind Intuit QuickBooks, TurboTax, Credit Karma, and Mailchimp. This initiative, announced in Chicago as part of Black History Month celebrations, aims to empower minority-owned small businesses by enhancing their financial maturity and capital readiness. The Crowe Beacon small business advancement initiative responds to the challenges faced by minority-owned businesses. The initative

John Henry, a 31-year-old Dominican-American entrepreneur, is revolutionizing the auto insurance market with his innovative company, LOOP.  The B Corp car insurance firm uses predictive models and real-time driving data to create more equitable rates, particularly for underserved communities. LOOP  Established in 2020, LOOP has made remarkable strides in a short period.  By 2023, the company boasted over 10,000 members and reported $26.7 million in Direct Written Premiums, reflecting a staggering 230% growth yearly.  This success has been marked by over $30 million in venture capital from notable investors like

BLKFAM, a new streaming service backed by Whoopi Goldberg and specifically designed to cater to Black families, has officially launched.  Goldberg was an equity investor and creative director in BLKFAM, which aims to provide over 1,000 hours of child-friendly animation and other content. BLKFAM The unique platform is the first and only Black-owned and Black-focused family streaming service. Goldberg’s involvement is both a business venture and a personal commitment. “I’m excited to be involved with BLKFAM from the ground floor. I’m proud to be a part of something my great-grandkids

Filmmaker and entrepreneur Tyler Perry recently halted an $800 million expansion of his Atlanta-based studio due to the advancements in AI. Perry’s pause on expanding his 330-acre studio, which would have added 12 soundstages, underscores the disruptive potential of AI in the entertainment industry. AI’s Capabilities  During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Perry expressed his awe at OpenAI’s Sora’s capabilities in particular. Sora can generate vivid and complex video scenes merely from text descriptions, potentially eliminating the need for location shooting or set building. “Being told it can do

Pinterest’s use of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered inclusive filters is proving popular among its Gen Z users. Pinterest Using AI Pinterest is a digital inspiration space with nearly 500 million users that aims to enhance user satisfaction with inclusive AI. The inception of AI-powered filters in 2018 marked a significant stride for Pinterest. These filters, designed for skin tone, body type, and hair patterns, enable users to find images resonating with their personal features. According to Business of Fashion, results show that in 2023 alone, searches utilizing hair-pattern filters surged by 41%,

Students at the University of Arizona’s Center for Digital Humanities are working to digitally preserve historical Black artifacts.  Blending Technology With Black History Under the guidance of Bryan Carter, the center’s director and a professor of Africana studies, students have been working to digitally preserve Black artifacts from the Tucson Center for Black Life. The Tuscon Center for Black Life was founded by Charles Kendrick, the first Black graduate of the UArizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy. Its collection includes statues of Black regiments in the U.S. Army—Buffalo Soldiers—as

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