I somehow got on the www.whitehouse.gov daily email, and I noticed that the Tuesday (Aug. 4) post was about the White House Demo Day, hosted by President Barack Obama. What caught my eye was the statement that “A 2010 analysis found that just 1 percent of seed and early-stage venture funding nationally went to company founders who were black. (And in New York City, it was even less than that). Anyone with a good idea should be able to access the resources to help make it a reality—and that’s why today, we’re hosting the first-ever White House Demo Day and announcing independent commitments from companies who are stepping up to advance inclusive entrepreneurship.”
It continued: “Unlike a private-sector Demo Day, where entrepreneurs ‘pitch’ their ideas to funders, innovators from around the country joined President Obama to ‘demo’ their individual success stories and show why we need to give every American the opportunity to pursue their bold, game-changing ideas,” the organizers said.
“But we didn’t want the day’s activity to be limited to events in Washington, D. C. That’s why we encouraged entrepreneurs, innovation spaces, universities, and more to host their own Demo Day events and follow along live as we engage in a conversation about how we can ensure that everyone has access to the tools and resources they need to make their ideas a reality.”
• BlueOak: Privahini Bradoo, S.F., “finds the treasure in trashed smartphones.” It harvests precious metals from old smartphones and TVs.
• Declara: Ramona Pierson, Palo Alto, “founded a company to build a new kind of search engine,” influenced by her experience recovering a car accident that left her blind for 11 years.
• Open Health Network: Tatyana Kanzaveli & Maksim Tsvetovat, Los Altos, founded a company to “connect patients and improve care delivery.”
Monica Bay is a Fellow at CodeX and a member of the California bar.