New Program Gives Black Founders Free Access to Valuable Technology

A new program created by a coalition of tech companies–Braze, mParticle, Branch, Amplitude, and Radar–gives Black founders free access to valuable technology that can help them build and scale their businesses. 

The creation of this new program, named Tech for Black Founders, was inspired by the need for change in the tech industry as racial inequity continues to grow and the funding gap for minority groups widens. 

As one of the founding members of the program, Will Crocker of Braze, shared: “We wanted to do our part and give back to founders who get the short end of the stick.”

In Crunchbase’s latest 2020 Diversity Spotlight Report, our research uncovered that only 2.4 percent of the total capital raised since 2015 went to Black and Latine founders. This lack of access to capital has hindered the ability for those founders to grow businesses and, as a result, create job opportunities for their communities in comparison to their nonminority counterparts. 

Tech for Black Founders, similar to what Pledge 1% did for the nonprofit sector, aims to make technology more accessible for Black founders in an effort to help them accelerate business growth.

How it Works

The concept behind the Tech for Black Founders program is simple, yet provides a ton of value. Companies that join the program pledge to give Black founders based in the U.S., free access to their technology and other resources for a period of time. 

The focus of the program is to specifically serve Black founders who have less than $30 million in venture capital funding and fewer than 150 employees. Founders who are above these ranges are excluded because they’re already in a good position to scale. 

To date, over 30 companies–including Dialpad, Airtable, and The Muse — have joined the Tech for Black Founders program. So far it’s having an impact in more ways than one.

“Raising capital is an active struggle for Black founders and opportunities to reduce capital expenditures absolutely helps,” said Niger Little-Poole, founder and CTO of Constellation Analytics. “Additionally, brands participating in programs like these are more likely to gain my loyalty as a customer and retain my business as we scale,” he added.

Another founder participating in the program, Stephan Walters of Mako, echoed Little-Poole’s sentiment. “Lowering expenses for small businesses definitely helps,” he said.

As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses and as society tackles racial inequity, programs like Tech for Black Founders will play an important role in enabling technology to be accessible for all underrepresented founders–not just those who are able to raise millions of dollars.

  • Originally published November 10, 2020, updated May 5, 2023