Top 10 BAME Founders
As an advocate for inclusivity and underrepresented minorities, particularly in the world of tech, it’s good to see that progress is happening - although at an extremely slow rate. For every 100 men promoted to manager in 2020, only 58 Black and 71 Latina women were promoted (McKinsey & Co: Women in the Workplace, 2020). Furthermore, only 38 Black founders received VC funding in the last 10 years (Atomico: The State of European Tech, 2020). Clearly, there’s still a long way to go and we should be actively rewriting the change we want to see as opposed to diversity simply being a checkbox to tick.
What I wanted to concentrate on in this post was the BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) leaders that are breaking the mould, creating inspiring products benefitting wider communities.
It was extremely hard to narrow the list as I’m inspired by so many, but here are my top 10 BAME founders!
Originally from Egypt, Darwich moved to England when he was eight. Having held senior product roles at Tide and Octopus Wealth, he saw the inefficiencies of financial advice and its inaccessibility for most. That’s why he co-founded Hapi. Initially targeted towards parents, it helps them make better financial decisions when saving and investing for their children’s future. Users tell Hapi about their goals and it gives them a personalised plan to get them there, managing it automatically, reacting instantly to any changes in their circumstances.
Co-Founder and CPO at Compare Ethics - a data-driven startup using machine learning to verify sustainable products, establishing trust and transparency between consumers and retailers. Omisakin was named one of 30 Under 30 in the Ecommerce and Retail space by Forbes in 2020 and is passionate about the use of tech for good.
Falola started her first company in the Edtech sector to deliver more diversity and inclusion and has now developed a software solution called JUUBIX. It’s an inclusive SaaS Fintech that connects start-ups to cross-functional expertise and investment anonymously, calculating the overall liquidity of the network.
Ahuja is the co-founder of the cove.tool, a software product that helps customers discover more efficient ways to construct new buildings, reducing energy usage and cost. The customizable software platform uses algorithms that enable energy modelling with a high degree of granularity, optimizing for the best kind of roof, windows, HVAC, lighting, and other building materials.
Evuleocha founded Kiira Health, a telemedicine company focused on providing a safe, confidential platform for women at colleges and universities, stemming from her own confusion in finding medical help as an undergrad. The platform offers 24/7 phone, video, and chat capabilities with primary care, OB/GYN and mental health clinicians through a mobile app.
“Entrepreneur Creating An Operating System For Your Home” (Forbes). Founder of HomeHero, Alegbe came up with the idea around the time he was buying a house after realising how painful the process was. HomeHero helps UK residents manage all home services at the swipe of a button, giving them back time and headspace.
Shah founded envoPAP after being appalled by the problems of waste he saw in his home country of India. Its aim is to raise standards in sustainable packaging and paper and make an impact both commercially and socially. This is achieved by making better use of abundant sugarcane waste to create environmentally friendly and ecologically viable printing and packaging products. This waste would otherwise be burnt, causing severe pollution.
In September 2020, they were shortlisted in the inaugural Sunday Times BGF ‘10 Green Tech to Watch’ list and earlier this year gained B Corporation status. In the coming year, envoPAP aim to identify other geographies with agricultural waste and convert that into locally produced products.
Perkins is focusing on CityMaaS, using technology to achieve digital inclusion and inclusive travel for people with disabilities and was named one of the top EU startups. Her vision is to personalise the way the disabled community consume accessibility data and services.
Dr Jossy Onwude
Bold Health is a digital health tech startup on a mission to improve the health and quality of life of 1 billion people living with poorly-served digestive illnesses. Bold Health has several products aimed at various gastrointestinal conditions. Their first product, Zemedy, is a mobile app that delivers a self-management and evidence-based program for irritable bowel syndrome based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Okenla is a community organiser, advisor, founder and CEO of Your Startup Your Story - an organisation providing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for diverse talent in technology. Okenla is also the founder of pactlist, a SasS product that helps organisations create inclusive application forms to reach diverse communities.
Inclusion is needed. The tech sector is expanding rapidly, however, diversity still remains a key challenge. When businesses consist of people from the same backgrounds, diverse ideas and perspectives are left behind. Since this was in no way an exhaustive list, what are some other BAME founders or inspiring individuals you can think of? Let us know on LinkedIn or Twitter!