Black Women Talk Tech’s 6th Annual Roadmap to Billions Conference Returned In-Person to Brooklyn Navy Yard
On Wednesday, June 15th through Friday, June 17th, Black Women Talk Tech held its 6th Annual Roadmap to Billions conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York. The event was hybrid, offering in-person programming as well as virtual activations and livestream content for the online audience.
Black Women Talk Tech is a collective of Black women tech founders identifying, supporting, and encouraging Black women to build the next billion-dollar business. Roadmap to Billions is the largest tech gathering for Black women in the world. Over 1,500 founders were in attendance, in person or virtually, for the only annual tech conference created exclusively by Black women tech founders for Black female and non-binary founders and allies.
The conference is built from the perspective of women with a goal to showcase the brilliance of Black women in tech, create a stage for their experiences, foster deep connections, and create real funding opportunities. Attendees were able to gain insight and valuable lessons to inspire and guide them on their entrepreneurial and executive journeys through the tech landscape.
This year’s conference featured activations such as the Opening Night Pajama Jammy Jam, Pitch Competition, and an NFT + Crypto Corner presented by VaynerMedia. There was also a wellness and beauty lounge offering attendees massages, sound baths, and mani-pedis, plus hydration provided by BLK Water and Essentia Water. Lunch options were provided each day by Black Owned food trucks aligned for guests to enjoy! Diageo sponsored a networking happy hour for conference attendees on both evenings.
Some of the 3-Day event’s key speakers included Andrea Donkor, SVP, Regulatory and Consumer Compliance at PayPal; Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley; Bakari Brock, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Microsoft for Startups; Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups; Kezia Williams, CEO of The Black Upstart; Janis Bowdler, Counselor for Racial Equity at the US Department of Treasury; Kelly Ifill, Founder and CEO at Guava; David C.Williams, Assistant Vice President- Automation at AT&T; and Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director & Chief Development Officer, Black Entrepreneurs NYC.
The top 3 pitch competition finalists will be entered into the 43North annual accelerator as semi-finalists and receive tech from Dell. Additionally, eligible finalists will receive AWS Cloud Credits. Last but not least, Erin Rowe of Allspring took home the second place cash prize of $5K while Tisia Safford of Cleare received $20K in funding.
Sponsors for this year’s conference included the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Intuit, Bloomberg, Dell for Startups, Citi, Balsamiq, Lowenstein Sandler, JustWorks, American Family Insurance, Morgan Stanley, First Round Capital, Bank of America, Microsoft for Startups, Mastercard, Hinge, New York Life, Start Engine, Breastcancer.org, AARP, VSCO and more. Each sponsor had their own booth providing valuable information and guidance to attendees. Bank of America promoted their Breakthrough Labs for Founders and opportunities to work for Bank of America. Start Engine had a contest for founders to win an opportunity to pitch for Shark Tank’s Mr Wonderful. Mastercard wants to make sure that all founders are aware of their StartPath Program. Morgan Stanley discussed financial wellness for both tech founders and professionals offering one-on-one consultation along with recruiting for their Data Analytics department. Microsoft for Startups introduced its new Founders Hub for entrepreneurs building technical solutions. Bloomberg is interested in recruiting and hiring for tech roles. Hinge, the app that is meant to be deleted, shared their goal to recruit brilliant top tech minds. Breastcancer.org initiative “When we trial” encourages black women to participate in clinical breast cancer research trials. Black Women Talk Tech had a special VIP luncheon at the Canadian Consulate to encourage more black founders to set up business in Canada. Balsamiq, Lownestein Sandler, Square, Kapor Center, First Round Capital, American Family Insurance, Crewcial Partners and Justworks provided tickets for some attendees to attend the conference for free.
Supporting organizations included BLCK VC, and Upfront Ventures who curated the conversations “Are You Ready To Fundraise?” “How We Break into Venture”, and more.
Media partners included premiere partner FOX Soul, as well as supporting partners Sheen Magazine, Amplify Africa, Afro.com, The Plug, Hype Magazine, and She Media.
About Black Women Talk Tech:
Black Women Talk Tech (BWTT) is a worldwide collective of black women tech founders who uniquely understand the challenges Black women startup owners face in the industry. The organization seeks to identify, support, and encourage Black women to build the next billion-dollar business. To learn more, please visit www.blackwomentalktech.com. Follow BWTT on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.