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Build Tech Stack Equity
71 minutes | 20 hours ago
Sounding the Horn for Underrepresented Tech Founders in AI | Black Enterprise Network with Kimmiko James
Darius joins Kimmiko James, Host of the Black Enterprise Network podcast, to discuss artificial intelligence and why it’s critical underrepresented tech founders get involved in it’s development. They dive into it’s impact in business and the real world as well as strategies to get educated and up-to-speed on the technology. Check out Kimmiko’s podcast at: https://www.blackenterprisenetwork.fm/ For more content, subscribe to the Build Tech Stack Equity Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts
44 minutes | 3 days ago
Discovering LATAM as a Tech Oasis for Growth | Fernando Gutierrez, Tachyus
Don’t sleep on Latin America! In fact, for tech entrepreneurs it deserves several moments of your undivided attention. Whether we’re talking about markets for product expansion or hubs for top tech talent, LATAM is a bright spot for tech innovation. Forward thinking tech entrepreneurs and executives have already begun thinking through the best strategy for participating in the growth of LATAM. Today, we sit with Colombian trailblazer, Fernando Gutierrez who is the head of a cutting edge AI startup focused on Oil & Gas. Fernando launched his career in the US and quickly gained experience as a sales leader in the Middle East and various LATAM markets. He has returned to his home country to begin shaping the future of his firm as a tech leader across the Americas. Guest Bio: Fernando is Chief Executive Officer of Tachyus. As CEO of Tachyus, Fernando is responsible for leading the Company to continued success. Prior to Tachyus, Fernando, held several consulting, sales and management roles across many countries. He started at Schlumberger and worked at other oil and gas services companies for over 16 years, with focus on reservoir/production engineering integrated solutions in the digital transformation space of the industry. Fernando holds a MSc. in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M, USA and a Bs. in Geological Engineering from Escuela de Ingenieros, Colombia. 2:47 From Medellin, Colombia to Texas A&M University to Australia to England 4:35 Building a career in oil and gas technology | Learning English on the fly 6:48 Developing unique insight into product as the liaison between software devs and sales 12:15 CEO of Tachyus | How an expertise in sales enabled a leadership position at a high growth startup 16:43 What Fernando saw in artificial intelligence that inspired his desire to participate 19:03 Keys to selling AI/deep tech to non-technical customers 24:07 Selling in Latin America versus selling in North America 26:50 The untapped opportunity in building tech in and for LATAM 31:31 Leveraging LATAM as a resource for tech talent 36:35 Keys to identifying the ideal customer to target and accelerating the buying cycle 40:35 Fernando’s favorite tech tool: Slack 42:05 Who inspires Fernando
43 minutes | 10 days ago
Enabling Teachers to Perfect Their Craft... The Phil Jackson of Education | Will Morris, edConnective
Description: In sports, it’s a given that perfecting your craft requires consistent coaching. Is there an industry more important than education that this same concept should apply? Athletes receive coaching on a daily basis, but unfortunately teachers aren’t yet afforded those same growth opportunities, relying on quarterly assessments rather than consistent feedback. Technology is changing the game. Like in sports, teachers are now able to watch their own game film and learn from industry experts how to take their game to the next level. In this episode, I sit with Will Morris, Founder and CEO of edConnective. His team is leveraging technology to provide consistent professional development opportunities. Founder Bio: Will received his Master of Education from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. There he researched instructional coaching as a promising lever of teacher quality. Before UPenn, Will spent a year working with a cohort of 30 African American freshmen as an Urban Prep Fellow in a Chicago Charter School. During his year in Chicago, Will became a Starting Bloc Social Innovation Fellow and participated in a social entrepreneurship institute that sparked his desire to create systemic impact through social innovation. Timestamps: 1:59 The genesis of edConnective | Solving systems level issues in education 4:13 On the ground experience | Working at Urban Prep in Chicago 5:04 How Will used grad school to incubate his idea for a startup 6:19 Why teacher performance is the linchpin for driving educational outcomes 9:13 Why the traditional form of teacher coaching/evaluation is flawed 12:29 The edConnective product and how coaches are coached 15:54 Finding the best coaches to help teachers develop professionally 20:49 Leveraging technology to create predictable process behind coaching strategy 24:32 Tough lessons learned as a solo founder and the value in teaming up with a technical partner 28:33 Testing the business hypothesis as a service before scaling up with tech/software 31:38 The journey to getting traction and generating revenue “Wandering in startup wilderness” 34:20 Keeping the startup dream alive while waiting to get traction 37:12 The Founder’s most important job is to validate demand 38:57 In a marketplace business model, which side of the marketplace do you validate first 41:54 Where to find Will and edConnective
43 minutes | 18 days ago
Why Building Product for Underserved Communities is a Massive Opportunity | Maria Burns Ortiz, 7 Generation Games
Total Addressable Market is a key metric that VCs use to determine whether an idea is investable and one that some tech founders use to determine whether they’re solving a large enough problem. This begs the questions “how can you accurately assess the magnitude of a problem without having actually experienced the problem yourself?”. This gap in problem awareness has created an incredible opportunity for underrepresented founders to build solutions that speak to the unique needs and build valuable solutions that improve the lives of overlooked populations. In this episode, we sit with Maria Burns Ortiz, Co-Founder and CEO of 7 Generation Games. Her team is building video games that close the math skills gap found in underrepresented communities. Founder Bio: Maria Burns Ortiz is co-founder and CEO of 7 Generation Games, a video game studio making immersive educational games and interactive apps with a mission of breaking down barriers to success, one math problem at a time. Previously, Maria was a multimedia journalist and NY Times best-selling author. For her work at 7 Generation Games, she was an invited speaker at the 2016 White House: State of Women Summit, received the National Latina Business Women Association-Los Angeles’ Rising Star in 2017 and named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's 40 Under 40 in 2021. 1:15 The many interesting facts about Maria Burns Ortiz’s life 4:011 An atypical path to tech entrepreneurship |A career as an ESPN reporter 6:02 Reinventing your career| From reporter to video game developer 10:02 Operating as a cofounding team in the early days 11:29 What is 7 Generation Games and what problem it is solving? 14:22 The extraordinary value in serving underserved communities 15:45 The process of video game development 20:02 The importance of engagement UI/UX vs the tech itself 24:02 Building the first version of a gaming product 28:32 Testing your product with real world customers and getting traction 31:02 Finding the ideal customer for the product and communicating ROI to schools 35:02 How solving a problem in a niche creates a reputation of success 36:10 The promise of AI in EdTech | The personalization of the learning experience 40:13 Continue following 7GG at 7generationgames.com
46 minutes | 18 days ago
Married Founder Duo Builds Tech to Keep Salon Chairs Filled | Tye & Courtney Caldwell, ShearShare
Many non-technical aspiring entrepreneurs are held back from launching tech companies for fear of not knowing how to code. Tye & Courtney Caldwell had big dreams matched by the drive to manifest their vision for keeping salon chairs filled and beauticians/barbers earning money. Strapped with expertise in the beauty salon industry, this dynamic duo made relationships the gasoline that powered their knack for getting answers to their most pressing questions at the right time. Founder Bio: Dr. Tye Caldwell: Dr. Tye Caldwell is the Cofounder & CEO of ShearShare, the first on-demand salon and barbershop space rental app. A 26-year industry veteran, master barber-stylist, and salon and barbershop owner, Dr. Tye is recognized as a tech visionary and industry pioneer. His mission is to help beauty and barbering professionals around the world maximize their earnings potential. Mrs. Courtney Caldwell: Courtney Caldwell is the Cofounder & COO of beauty-tech startup, ShearShare, the first mobile app that lets stylists quickly find affordable salon and barbershop space to lease near them. Named an Inc. magazine 2019 Female Founders 100 and the 2017 L’Oreal Women in Digital NEXT Generation Award winner, Courtney’s mission is to empower industry professionals and help keep our small businesses open. Joint Bio: Dr. Tye and Courtney Caldwell are the cofounders of ShearShare, the first on-demand salon and barbershop space rental app. Recognized as tech visionaries and industry pioneers, the Caldwells’ mission is to help fellow beauty and barbering professionals around the world maximize their earnings potential. ShearShare is the first Texas startup to win Google Demo Day, L’Oreal’s Women in Digital NEXT Generation Award, and Tech. Co’s Startup of the Year. The Caldwells’ work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fast Company, Forbes, Black Enterprise, Modern Salon, and Salon Today. They are alums of YC Fellowship and 500 Startups, two world-renowned programs for creating top-end entrepreneurs. The Caldwells live in McKinney, Texas, and are proud parents to son Trey, a second-year cadet and football player at the United States Air Force Academy. 1:56 Why don’t more couples start companies together? 2:43 Making the entrepreneurial leap | The origin of ShearShare 5:50 Listen to your customers problems. They will give you product ideas 8:22 How services businesses can be a great precursor to a highly scalable tech company 11:28 Participating in the Google for Startups Accelerator for black founders 14:39 Preparing ShearShare for an AI future and creating hyper-personalization for barbers and stylists 19:42 Getting to an MVP | Building a tech platform/app as non-technical founders 22:59 Identifying and acquiring technical talent to build the first version of the application 24:49 “You’re saying we should drain the what? The 401k”… Betting on yourself as a founder 27:20 Moving from contractors to full-time engineers 29:50 Learning lessons building a marketplace | Solving the chicken and egg problem 34:00 Establishing a pricing model 35:34 Building traction via word-of-mouth 38:24 The entrepreneurial mindset | Confidence, risk, generational wealth, betting on yourself 44:36 May 2021 – Exciting news coming from ShearShare
20 minutes | 18 days ago
Intro Episode – Why are we here? Who is Darius? What should we expect?
Never before has there been such a push to enable the dreams of underrepresented tech entrepreneurs. From a growth in grants to increased investment interest to community purchasing support, underrepresented founders have not been in a better position to start tech companies. This podcast exists to highlight these founders’ journey while also providing strategic advice (fundraising, go-to-market, hiring, tech development) to those who aspire to make the leap. There are many different flavors of tech entrepreneurship and the beauty of being a founder is your ability to create and execute a vision that fits your unique needs and preferences. This episode outlines what we intend to accomplish with the Build Tech Stack Equity podcast. Since we will be spending much more time together, I share a bit more about my journey and what drove me to launch this podcast. I also share what you should expect from the podcast as it relates to episode cadence and topics. You can find the full podcast at www.dariusgant.com.
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