Posts in Category

Diversity

There is only one Dave. In the process of meeting new people and becoming familiar with my new work environment here at Techstars, I met Dave. Dave told me, “Remember I am the only Dave. There are two or more Davids, but I am the only Dave.” At Techstars, everyone seems to know there are several Davids but one Dave. Why is this important? It isn’t unless your name is Dave (or David). This seems complicated when I write it out, but I have found that everyone knows the Davids

AI ethics: Diverse teams are a great start but we need a wider cultural change in tech AI ethics is a hot topic in the tech industry. As a result of work by pioneering researchers like Joy Buolamwini we’re learning more about how algorithms can discriminate against underrepresented groups, most alarmingly ethnic and gender minorities. While AI and machine learning hold great promise, many are concerned about the impact new technology will have on society. Giants of the tech industry like Google and Facebook, government and academia are all trying

One of my favorite aspects of social media is coming across amazing work by activists, creatives, and academics. I get especially excited to see work by fellow women of color, whose perspectives are often left out of mainstream media and activism. So naturally, when I discover that posts by women of color are being filtered out of my feed, I am skeptical and upset but not surprised. This recently happened as I was using Gobo, a social media aggregator and filtering platform created by my colleagues at the MIT Center

It was summer 2009 and I was a fresh economics graduate from the London School of Economics working at the Financial Times as an editorial intern. My final degree score averaged 69, one mark shy of a distinction. But after all the trials and tribulations of a challenging undergraduate course I was ecstatic to have come out of it alive, let alone with a merit. As I stood in the offices of one of the most famous and respected newspapers in the world, all around me the foundations of capitalism

I finally made it to Blavity’s AfroTech conference in Silicon Valley last month thanks to Product Hunt & AngelList sponsoring me. Here’s what I learned while I was there: 1. Feeling included leads to high levels of self-belief and inspiration. Feeling like an outsider in the industry has been a common theme in my career. It’s what has led me to obsess over making the industry more representative of wider society and of course feel more inclusive. AfroTech represents something like a pilgrimage for me as a techie. It was the

Andy Ayim is the Managing Director of Backstage London. This is the first in a series of stories introducing the Backstage Accelerator team in London. Amplifying Voices Last year, through some chance, frustration, and a stroke of genius, I had arrived at an inflection point in my writing. I began to share stories about what I was learning in tech with a tone of voice that came from the streets I was raised in. It was sometimes assertive, always authentic, and very unapologetic. I wanted aspiring founders to have access

Every year, for the past 4 years, Silicon Valley goes on their penance tour of carefully selected media outlets to tell their diversity and inclusion stories. The reports are carefully crafted to avoid apples to apple comparison with EE-01s and other tech companies. And when pressed on this, their well-oiled PR departments manage the messaging in such a way that it’s all but impossible to get the ground truth. One potential reason why ratios have remained static is that inequality is in plain sight at many tech companies. A short

This conversation is a snippet from this #Techish podcast episode between Arlan Hamilton founder of Backstage Capital, and Michael Berhane, cleaned up and edited for readabilty sake. I’ve always wanted to know when you first had the idea for Backstage Capital. What was the first thing you did?  Cried [haha] It didn’t happen overnight. I studied, I started my education to understand venture capital. I had to. The old guard, the people who are already there, perhaps they needed a little bit more of a shakeup when it came to

This guest post was originally published at Backstage Capital’s Green Room blog. On a daily basis, I get inquiries on and around the world of venture capital (VC) and Backstage Capital. So, when Mario Avila, an aspiring VC, reached out to me and expressed interest in typing up a few questions that could help many others, I took him up on it. I told Mario I’d answer his questions and post them. In this post, we explore my role as a Principal, diversity in venture capital, portfolio management, and how

It is awesome to see the progress in the last 12–24 months women are starting to make to stand up and have their voices heard and acted upon in tech. It is encouraging to see success stories from the US such as Vanity Fair’s showcase of 26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. These are compelling stories of empowerment, encouragement, and identity. Everyone wants to see others they can identify with reach positions of success they too can aspire towards. We hear all the time that hard work

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