5 Women of Color Dominating the Startup Tech Space

Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder of COSIGN 

Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder of COSIGN 

The stats on women in STEM and tech are pretty dismal. (About 26% of women hold tech jobs.) Those numbers drop lower when it comes to women of color-- they hold only 3 percent of all tech positions in the U.S. Which is why supporting of women who are doing their damn thing, and doing it well, is crucial. 

Here are five amazing women of color in the tech space you need to hit that follow button on. 

1. Jessica O. Matthews & Unchartered Play

Jessica O. Matthews is the Founder & CEO of Uncharted Play, an energy company that designs renewable energy technology systems for infrastructure and smart applications. Founded by Jessica when she was 22, Uncharted Play’s flagship product is the SOCCKET ball, an energy generating soccer ball that provides off-grid power for the developing world. Jessica invented the SOCCKET when she was 19 years old.

Jessica’s research and career centers around the intersection of disruptive technology, human behavior, and the psychology of self-actualization. A dual citizen of Nigeria & the U.S., Jessica has a degree in Psychology and Economics from Harvard University, and
an MBA from Harvard Business School.

2. Dawn Dickson & Solutions Vending  

Dawn W. Dickson is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in marketing and business development. She launched three successful cash flow positive companies since 2002, her most recent venture Solutions Vending International (SVI) in October 2012 after identifying a need develop a software solution to make vending machines more intelligent.

What Solutions Vending International does: Smart vending machines now represent a new breed of machines connected to the internet. Their software helps vending machines not only understand retail customer demographic and sales data, but communicate with one another to understand consumer purchasing behavior, identify venue traffic patterns, and establish a network of connected retail devices. SVI is building a network of connected machines to securely collect and analyze data about consumers and venues across the United States.

3. Maude Okrah and Bonnti

Bonnti is a mobile platform which helps women navigate and simplify their hair experience. The site explains, "We understand ethnic hair is different and we want to empower women to have more choice when it comes to your hair." 

Okrah recently told Project Entrepreneur, "I’d love to see more women, especially women of color, dive deeper into the tech world and come up with solutions to solve the unique everyday problems we face. I’ve learned so much throughout this entrepreneurial journey that I’d be remiss not to share it with any other woman who even shows an inkling of interest in this field. I mentor a small group of women from my alma mater and the D.C. area, helping them navigate the challenges I faced when beginning on this journey."

4. Erin Horne McKinney and KissIntel 

Passionate about emerging technology and entrepreneurship, Erin Horne McKinney is the cofounder of Black Female Founders (#BFF) and KissIntel. KissIntel is the first mobile application to function as a "CRM for dating" by creating a platform where users can aggregate and track their dating lives, compare and rate dates and get instant feedback from their family and friends in real time. KissIntel’s proprietary date aggregator allows users to compile all their date options in one place. KissIntel revolutionizes the way people make dating decisions and creates an entirely new way to interact with potential partners by providing customized comparison and rating tools that tie into the user’s curated contact list and social network for immediate feedback from family and friends they trust. In addition to the end-user focused capabilities, KissIntel can offer its rating and comparison engines directly to online dating sites.

5. Esosa Ighodaro and Cosign

She's the woman who is making your photos shoppable. COSIGN connects you to your favorite brands and retailers in just one tap. COSIGN is the first app to make products in your photos ready-to-buy, turning your social media followers into customers and your style into a way to earn cash rewards.

After constantly asking herself, "where did she get that?" Ighodaro decided to come up with her own solution, creating an app to solve her shopping issues. CoSign serves as a mobile app that makes any product with an image shoppable on social media. As an added incentive, users can make a commission for every product purchased through the app.

In this new world, women save themselves. Have more amazing women we should be following? Share in the comments below!