Oo Nwoye, founder of OnePage, asks if anyone can think of any major internet startup company with a black founder. Failing off the top of his head, he scours the internet:
Where I have checked for black founders
- I have read thousands, yes thousands of articles from the biggest Technology blogs (TechCrunch, Mashable, ReadWrteWeb, GigaOm) covering Internet companies and I am yet to come across one article covering a startup with a black founder. (Please note that there might have been some published on a day I did not read.)
- I have followed TechCrunch50’s and a 40, LeWeb, DEMO and other competitions startups, yet to see a single one there too. (There might be one or two among the hundreds but I am yet to come across them.)
- I have seen the stars come out from incubators like YCombinator, Techstars and SeedCamp and I am yet to see a black founder among the renowned ones (except Justin.TV so far.)
- I have read books (e.g. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston, The Stories of Facebook, YouTube and myspace by Sarah Lacy, The Google Story, etc) that document the stories of scores of startups featuring hundreds of characters but I cannot recollect a black character in any of the stories
- I have gone through the interview archive (I’d guess over a hundred interviews) of Mixergy, the awesome site that interviews lots of startups founders but have not crossed an interview of a successful black Internet startup founder.
- Myself. Like I said earlier, I use lots of internet apps and I do not use one by a black founder.
He quickly stipulates this, though:
Why I rule out discrimination.
Although it is reported that In 2008, blacks constituted only 1.5% the Valley’s tech population, I would rule out discrimination. This is not a white/black issue, it is a Black-everybody else issue. The founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar is Persian, That of Admob, Omar Hamoui is Syrian. The founder of SlideShare is both a woman and an Indian so she is a minority (in US) on both counts. There are several other women and minorities (at least in US) that have been able to create world class startups too. Secondly, based on my experience in the UK, the ground is as level (racially) as can be.
Fascinating article. He said he wrote and deleted it many times. I can related to that. Whenever you want to write about something even slightly controversial it’s hard to adequately communicate that controversy without getting sucked into it and forgetting that you had something new to say about it. You can tell by looking at the comments it gets pretty dicey.
March 14, 2011, 10:17am