The 46 Most Important African-Americans In Technology

Condoleeza riceChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesDropbox board of directors member Condoleezza Rice

African-Americans in the tech industry still seem to be relatively few and far between.

But that is changing. In February of this year, Apple appointed Denise Young Smith to lead its worldwide human resources division — a position previously held by a white man.

Just this month, storage startup Dropbox announced the appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.

Still, racial minorities and women are generally underrepresented in management roles, according to a 2013 CNNMoney probe into the 20 top U.S. tech companies. Last year, we began tracking the most important black people in tech.

Now, we’ve updated our ranking of some of the most accomplished African-Americans in the industry.

46. Stephen DeBerry

Founder and CIO, Bronze Investments

Before founding Bronze Investments, Stephen DeBerry was a partner at Kapor Capital. Before Kapor, DeBerry worked as an investment director at Omidyar Network, the investment firm started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam.

In his career, DeBerry has backed startups like Chromatik, Formlabs, SendHub, and CardMunch, the mobile app for business cards LinkedIn acquired.

Bronze Investments has taken no outside funding and has an undisclosed number of employees.

45. Will Lucas

Founder and CEO, Creadio

Will Lucas founded brand marketing technology company Creadio back in 2003. Two years ago, he launched Classana, an educational resource discovery engine. To date, Classana has raised $US26,500 in grant money.

Lucas is also the organiser behind TedXToledo, which is now in its second year.

Creadio is a bootstrapped startup with fewer than 10 employees.

44. Ade Olonoh

CEO, Formspring

Ade Olonoh is the co-Founder and CEO of Formspring, a social network that helped people find out more about each other.

Prior to founding Formspring, Olonoh founded online form building Formstack. Formpsring has taken $US14.3 million in funding and has about 12 employees. In 2013, Spring.me acquired Formspring's assets and rebranded it.

43. Sheldon Gilbert

Founder and CEO, Proclivity

Sheldon Gilbert, the founder and chief executive of Proclivity Media, a company that specialises in digital advertising technologies.

Founded six years ago, Proclivity uses a retailer's e-commerce data to best predict and match companies with ad placements that will bring in the most sales.

Proclivity has raised $US8.82 million in funding and has eight employees.

42. Stacy Spikes

Stacy Spikes co-founded MoviePass

Co-founder, MoviePass

Stacy Spikes' MoviePass is one of the most exciting things to happen to the movie business in a while. It's essentially Netflix for movies still playing in theatres.

Before co-founding MoviePass, Spikes was a long-time marketing executive who recently delved into the tech world. He's considered one of the leaders of film entertainment marketing. Before starting MoviePass, Spikes founded the Urbanworld Film Festival, which is now the largest of its kind in the world. Urbanworld has premiered more No. 1 films than any other North American Film Festival, including Sundance and Tribeca.

MoviePass has taken $US1.5 million in funding and has 12 employees.

41. Hamet Watt

Hamett Watts

Co-founder, MoviePass

Hamet Watt is a former entrepreneur in residence at True Ventures. Before co-founding MoviePass alongside Stacy Spikes, he founded full-service media buying platform NextMedium, and health app bLife.

MoviePass has taken $US1.5 million in funding and has 12 employees.

40. Don Charlton

Don Charlton

CEO, The Resumator

Don Charlton has changed the way hiring gets done online.

During the most recent presidential election, both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney used The Resumator to handle all of the job applications coming in.

Before founding The Resumator, Charlton established himself as an award-winning interactive designer.

The Resumator has taken $US2.98 million in funding and has 44 employees.

39. Majora Carter

Founder, Sustainable South Bronx, Startup Box: South Bronx

Majora Carter recently opened up a new startup incubator and tech education center in South Bronx to foster entrepreneurship.

'There is a dramatic shortage of engineering talent in the U.S. labour force, and we want to fill that gap with people who could otherwise end up in the criminal justice and welfare systems,' she previously told Fast Company. She says most of the talent in the South Bronx either leaves or doesn't get 'nurtured into something positive.'

In 2010, Carter was touted as one of the 100 most creative people in business. She's also a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster.

Startup Box is a non-profit organisation.

38. Dan Miller

Founder and CEO, Fresh Sessions

Dan Miller is one of the people responsible for developing the business model of BlackGirlsCode, an organisation geared toward getting more diverse women involved with technology.

But now Miller is on to his own project, Fresh Sessions, a soon-to-be launched startup that will help musicians access top-notch recording studios.

Fresh Sessions is currently bootstrapped and is gearing up to launch this year.

36. Kimberly Bryant

Founder, BlackGirlsCode

Kimberly Bryant wants to ensure that young black girls have the opportunity to learn how to code. In 2011, Bryant founded BlackGirlsCode, a six-week program that teaches basic programming concepts, and gives underrepresented youths the chance to learn about robotics, and a wide range of other technological concepts.

Before founding BlackGirlsCode, Bryant spent about a decade in biotechnology where she held several management roles at companies including Genentech, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, and Merck.

BlackGirlsCode, which was founded in 2011, has five employees.

35. Tristan Walker

Founder, Walker and Company

Early Foursquare employee Tristan Walker launched his own startup, Walker and Company, in December 2013 to better serve the African-American community.

The first brand, Bevel, sells premium razors and shaving cream geared toward black men. Walker has already snagged $US2.4 million from Upfront Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, Sherpa Ventures, and the William Morris agency's Charles King. Walker and Company is still relatively small and employs five people.

33. Brian Dixon

Associate, Kapor Capital

Brian Dixon joined Kapor Capital after he interned there for two summers.

Kapor Capital is particularly focused on startups that address a lack of access and opportunity for underserved communities, or those that are trying to democratize a huge sector.

Kapor Capital is the VC firm that has backed startups like Alltuition, ClassDojo, and SendHub. It employs fewer than 10 people.

32. Angela Benton

Founder, CEO at NewMe Accelerator

NewMe is an accelerator geared toward minorities. It was featured in CNN's 'Black in America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley in 2011.'

Benton launched NewMe alongside co-founder Wayne Sutton. Prior to NewMe, Benton launched BlackWeb2.0, an online publication for African-Americans interested in technology and new media.

NewMe employs seven people.

31. Amos Winbush III

Founder and CEO, CyberSynchs

CyberSynchs is a multimillion-dollar tech firm that specialises in universal data transfer and synchronisation.

Last year, Winbush launched AW3 Media, a company designed to develop, produce, and broadcast original programming. He plans to debut 'Project Entrepreneur,' a documentary series focused on finding the next great entrepreneur.

CyberSynchs employs two people.

30. Condoleezza Rice

Board of directors, Dropbox

Earlier this month, online storage startup Dropbox added Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors.

As the former secretary of state, and an adviser to the NSA, having someone like Rice as a liaison to Washington D.C. could be very helpful to Dropbox.

At the same time, though, her history as an official in the Bush Administration is stirring up controversy.

Dropbox has raised over $US1 billion to date and employs 698 people.

29. Brian Watson

Brian Watson

Analyst, Union Square Ventures

Before joining USV in 2012, Watson worked at Organising for America, Trendrr, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Gilt Groupe.

Now he works alongside prominent tech executives like Brad Burnham, Fred Wilson, and Albert Wenger.

Union Square Ventures employs 12 people.

28. Heather Hiles

Founder, Pathbrite

As an education tech founder, it's not always easy to get schools and institutions on board, mostly due to a bunch of bureaucracy. That's why Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles is so impressive. Last year, Pathbrite raised an additional $US4 million led by testing behemoth ACT, with participation from Rethink Education for its e-portfolio product for students.

As of March 2013, Pathbrite was in more than 100 universities and school districts. Stanford, for example, purchased 1,000 licenses for students in its design, education, and engineering schools. And as of September 2013, more than 400 schools have used Pathbrite's new learning platform.

Pathbrite has raised $US8 million in total to date and employs 16 people.

27. Kanyi Maqubela

Kanyi Maqubela

Partner, Collaborative Fund

Kanyi Maqubela has worked in consumer technology since 2006. But he's quickly climbed up the ladder from a serving as a field director at solar leasing and sales company One Block Off the Grid to a venture partner at Collaborative Fund.

Maqubela joined Collaborative Fund as an entrepreneur-in-residence in 2011, and became a full-time partner in December 2012. Collaborative Fund employs 10 people and has backed startups like Kickstarter, TaskRabbit, Lyft, and Codecademy.

26. Laurence (Lo) Toney

CEO, LearnStreet

During Lo Toney's two-year stint as general manager at Zynga, Zynga saw its web bookings increase by over 150%. Toney also led Zynga's Casino and Poker strategy and sponsored two acquisitions to further drive game development.

Toney stepped down from Zynga in October 2012, after working there for three years. In February 2013, LearnStreet named Toney as its new CEO. LearnStreet offers online classes to learn how to code.

LearnStreet has raised $US1 million to date and employs nine people.

25. Chris Amos

Co-founder, Ampush

Chris Amos is the co-founder and chief marketing officer at Ampush, a social technology company that helps brands with Facebook ads.

Last year, Facebook awarded Ampush a grand prize in its Preferred Marketing Developer Innovation Competition.

Ampush has fewer than 107 employees.

24. Charles Hudson

Partner, SoftTech VC

Charles Hudson has his hands in both sides of the tech business, both as a founder at Bionic Panda Games and now an investor at SoftTech Ventures.

Previously, Hudson founded Social Gaming Summit, one of the leading conferences in the free-to-play games space. He was also the VP of business development for Serious Business, a company that Zynga later acquired in 2010.

SoftTech employs eight people.

22. Inman Breaux

COO, AirPush

As chief operating officer at Airpush, Inman Breaux is responsible for the mobile ad platform's operations. Airpush is a mobile ad platform used to monetise mobile applications. Prior to AirPush, Breaux worked as head of business development at mobile ad company Adenyo.

Founded in 2010, the company employees about 200 people. In July 2013, the bootstrapped startup was on pace to hit between $US130 to $US150 million in revenue that year. Last October, Airpush snapped up Hubbl for $US15 million to bring native ads to mobile.

21. Sarah Kunst

Investor Board Member, Venture For America

Sarah Kunst got her start in the tech industry working at Apple under Path founder Dave Morin. Before becoming a retail innovations investor at Mohr Davidow Ventures, Kunst ran business development and product at fashion app Kaleidoscope, a startup backed by Y Combinator, 500 Startups, SV Angel and Start Fund backed.

In December 2013, Kunst became an investor board member at Venture For America, a program designed to help talented college graduates gain experience in the startup world.

Venture For America employs fewer than 10 employees.

20. Makinde Adeagbo

Engineering Manager, Pinterest

Makinde Adeagbo is something of an engineering superstar, bouncing between major tech companies. He spent 3.5 years at Facebook, and became one of the go-to engineers to improve the site speed and overall performance.

Next, he got snapped up by Dropbox, where he helped improve sharing on the Dropbox platform with things like Dropbox Links, which lets anyone share and preview any file in someone's Dropbox from the Web. In July 2013, he left the huge cloud storage company to become Pinterest's engineering manager.

Pinterest has raised $US562.5 million in funding to date and employs fewer than 500 people.

19. Corey Thomas

President and CEO, Rapid7

Enterprise IT security provider Rapid7 appointed Corey Thomas as its new CEO in October 2012. Rapid7's software scans an organisation's IT infrastructure, like routers, hubs, databases, and web applications in order to find security holes and then patch them.

Prior to joining Rapid7, Thomas held leadership positions in the Microsoft Server and Tools division. To date, Rapid7 has raised $US61 million in venture funding and employs fewer than 500 people.

18. Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman

Chairman, Saama Technologies, Inc

Kenneth Coleman is a long-time tech veteran, having held numerous executive positions at technical computing company SGI, video game company Activision, and Hewlett Packard.

Coleman also previously founded enterprise software company ITM, which was acquired by BMC software.

Saama Technologies employs fewer than 1,000 people.

17. Stacy Brown-Philpot

From Left: TaskRabbit Chief Operating Officer Stacy Brown-Philpot, Founder and CEO Leah Busque, and Chief Revenue Officer Anne Raimondi

COO, TaskRabbit

After working at Google for nine years and eventually Google Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence, Stacy Brown-Philpot became TaskRabbit's first-ever COO. TaskRabbit is a San Francisco-based startup that runs an online marketplace for outsourcing errands and tasks.

While at Google, Brown-Philpot held several senior-level finance positions in which she was responsible for managing the company's revenue in certain verticals.

TaskRabbit has raised $US37.7 million to date and employs fewer than 50 people.

16. Tony Gauda

Tony Gauda, CEO at Bitcasa

CEO and co-founder, ThinAir

Prior to founding storage startup ThinAir, Tony Guada served as the CEO of Bitcasa, an infinite online storage startup.

Gauda launched Bitcasa at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference back in 2011. Gauda previously engineered fraud protection systems at Mastercard.

To date, Bitcasa has raised $US19.5 million from venture capital firms such as Horizon Ventures, Andreessen-Horowitz, and First Round Capital. The company employs fewer than 2,000 people.

ThinAir, on the other hand, employs fewer than 10 people.

15. Michael Seibel

Michael Seibel cofounded Socialcam.

Founder and CEO, SocialCam

Michael Seibel has two successful startups under his belt: live video streaming service Justin.tv and social video app SocialCam.

In 2012, Seibel and his startup SocialCam got acquired for $US60 million by 3D design software company Autodesk just 18 months after launching.

Seibel's success has recently earned him a spot as a part-time partner at Silicon Valley's most prestigious accelerator, Y Combinator.

Autodesk, the company that bought SocialCam, is publicly traded and employs fewer than 10,000 employees.

14. Erin Teague

Director of product management, Yahoo

Erin Teague worked as the growth product manager for the mobile-only social network Path for two years and is responsible for the company's astounding user growth in 2013. In the spring, the app was growing by 1 million new users per week. It hit the 10-million-user mark in April. She worked on the product team at Twitter for two years before joining the Path team.

Last fall, she joined Yahoo with a director of product management role.

Yahoo is currently valued at around $US36.9 billion and employs more than 10,000 people.

13. Lisa Lambert

VP and Managing Director of Software and Services, Intel Capital

Lambert joined Intel Capital, Intel's global investment and M&A firm, back in 1997. She started as a product marketing manager and eventually worked her way up to a corporate position of vice president. Before that, Lambert held an executive role at Intel's Desktop Products Group, where she was responsible for the Pentium II and III processing systems.

She's invested in and helped exit companies including VMWare, Financial Engines, OpenFeint, and MySQL.

Intel Capital employs fewer than 500 people.

12. Ime Archibong

Ime Archibong

Director of Strategic Partnerships, Facebook

Ime Archibong is the guy in charge of Facebook's music and video strategy. Archibong manages Facebook's relationships with companies like Spotify, Beats Music, Rdio, Hulu, and Netflix.

Archibong joined Facebook back in 2010. Before that, Archibong worked at IBM in its business development department, where he handled the licensing of IBM's technology.

Facebook is currently valued at $US158 billion and employs fewer than 10,000 people.

11. Shellye Archambeau

CEO, MetricStream

Shellye Archambeau came on board with enterprise software provider MetricStream in 2002 as its chief executive officer. Archambeau also holds a board position at media and marketing firm Arbitron and Verizon Wireless.

In her career, Archambeau has held several executive roles at companies including Arbitron, Loudcloud, NorthPoint Communications, and Inc. In 2000, Internet World named her one of the top 25 'Click and Mortar' executives in the country.

MetricStream has raised $US65 million to date and employs fewer than 5,000 people.

10. Malik Ducard

Content Business Developement, Google

Ducard is responsible for developing partnerships between YouTube and film, TV, and new media companies. Under Ducard's leadership, YouTube launched YouTube Live, started offering movie rentals from Paramount Pictures, and partnered with ABC News, Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed, and other news organisations for presidential election coverage back in 2012.

Before joining Google in 2010, Ducard served as the senior vice president of digital distribution at Paramount.

Google has raised $US25 million to date and has over 10,000 employees. It's currently valued at $US359 billion.

9. Chris Young

Senior Vice President, Security Business Group, Cisco

As SVP at Cisco, Chris Young is responsible for the software company's global security business. He is also responsible for driving the company's cross-portfolio security strategy, architecture and internal security platforms.

Before joining Cisco in 2011, Young served as Senior Vice President and General Manager at VMware, where he led development and marketing for desktop virtualization, consumer, and end-user offerings.

Cisco is valued $US120.4 billion and employs more than 10,000 people.

8. Torrence Boone

Managing Director, Google

As managing director at Google, Torrence Boone is responsible for leading advertising growth throughout North America. Prior to joining Google in 2010, Boone served as CEO of ad startup Enfatico.

Google has raised $US25 million to date and has over 10,000 employees. It's currently valued at $US359 billion.

7. Kirk McDonald

President, PubMatic

McDonald joined digital media platform PubMatic in October 2011, bringing with him more than two decades of experience at media companies like Time and CNET.

With $US76 million funding in the bank, advertising company PubMatic is expected to be gearing up for an initial public offering. The IPO, which could happen later this year, would reportedly value the company at $US1 billion. PubMatic currently employs fewer than 500 people.

6. John Thompson

John Thompson, Microsoft chairmain and Virtual Instruments CEO

CEO, Virtual Instruments

During John Thompson's senior year at Florida A&M University, he joined IBM as a sales representative. He ended up staying for 28 years, and eventually rose to become general manager of IBM Americas.

In 1999, Thompson got an offer from Symantec that he couldn't turn down: the chance to be president and chief executive officer of the cloud security giant. He eventually retired in 2009, but started investing in early-stage startups.

Cloud computing startup Virtual Instruments was one of them. In 2009, Thompson joined Virtual Instruments' board of directors, and stepped in as CEO in 2010. He only intended to stay for a few months, but investors would only finance the company if Thompson stayed on board as CEO.

Virtual Instruments has raised $US66.5 million to date and employs fewer than 500 people.

5. David Drummond

Chief Legal Officer, Google

When Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing the NSA is allegedly tapping Google's servers and private networks, David Drummond, the company's chief legal officer, expressed his outrage and urged the need for dramatic reform in government intelligence policy.

In the wake of Snowden's many revelations, major tech companies have been put under a microscope, and Google has taken the lead in being as transparent as possible about government requests for user info.

Getting the public to regain trust in the Web and and major tech companies like Google isn't an easy task, but Drummond is tackling it valiantly, insisting that trust is to encourage innovation.

Google has raised $US25 million to date and has over 10,000 employees. It's currently valued at $US359 billion.

4. Ty Ahmad-Taylor

Vice President of Smart TV Services, Samsung

As head of Samsung's smart TV division, Ty Ahmad-Taylor is tasked with developing content and applications for Samsung's TV platform. Prior to joining Samsung, In Ahmad-Taylor founded real-time sports aggregator service FanFeedr in 2008. In 2012, Samsung acquired FanFeedr and Ahmad-Taylor came on board with Samsung.

Before starting FanFeedr, Ahmad-Taylor was the senior vice president for strategy and product development at MTV Networks' Music & Logo Group. Prior to MTV, Ahmad-Taylor a held executive roles at Comcast.

Samsung is valued at $US181,840.93 billion and has more than 10,000 employees.

3. Chuck Phillips

Infor CEO Charles Phillips

CEO, Infor

Charles Phillips made a big comeback last year. In fact, he's quietly becoming the 'Steve Jobs' of business software.

In 2013, Infor hit almost $US2.8 billion in revenues, up from $US2.2 billion when Phillips first joined the company. Prior to joining Infor, Phillips served as a captain in the Marines, a computer programmer, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's No. 2 guy.

Infor has more than 10,000 employees.

2. David Steward

Co-founder and Chairman, World Wide Technology

David Steward co-founded World Wide Technology, one of the largest African-American owned business in the country, back in 1990.

WWT is a systems integration company that helps large and private companies plan and deploy relevant IT products and solutions.

Today, WWT has an annual revenue of $US6 billion and more than 2,400 employees worldwide.

1. Denise Young Smith

Head of Human Resources, Apple

In February 2014, Apple appointed Denise Young Smith to lead its worldwide human resources division. Smith replaced Joel Podolny, who now focuses full-time on Apple University.

Smith previously led Apple's human resources for its retail operations, which employed 42,8000 of the company's 80,300 workers in the last fiscal year.

Apple is currently valued at $US471.5 billion and employs more than 10,000 people.

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