How important is crowdfunding, and why should more African American companies do it?
I raised $1 million from venture capital investors and angel investors in 2017 and 2018. I was one of the first 25 Black women in the country to raise $1 million in that way, but why is it that only 25 to 50 were able to accomplish this? There are trillions of dollars circulating in our communities. Why aren’t we really tapping in?
The reason is that many of us, despite being highly sophisticated, educated, knowledgeable and having access to disposable income, we’re not accredited. Just because you don’t make $200,000 a year doesn’t mean that you don’t have money or knowledge to invest. That is why President Obama under his administration in 2012 passed this law called Jumpstart Our Business Startups, the JOBS Act. What it does is allow entrepreneurs to raise money from accredited [people] who are more wealthy, and the non-accredited [people] meaning everyone else. That really opened up opportunities for us to be able to leverage our community to raise equity to get money for shares.
What advice do you have for Black women interested in tech?
People have this idea that being in tech means that you are coding or sitting on a computer all day, but technology is an industry. Technology needs marketing, human resources, public relations and graphic design. All you have to do to get into tech is to apply your skill set to tech. As you get into that business, you’ll learn about more high-tech things. You don’t have to go to school for tech to be in tech.