these women of color-owned startups are disrupting the tech industry

September 22, 2017
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By Katie Mitchell / WearYourVoice Mag, AFROPUNK contributor

Last week, Fast Company profiled a new start-up aimed at disrupting bodegas and mom-and-pop stores. Bodega, named for the businesses they hope to make obsolete, installs unmanned, customizable pantry boxes in offices, apartments, gyms, and other high-traffic areas.

Bodega even had the audacity to use the beloved bodega cat, the lovable animal seen at many of the bodegas throughout New York, as its logo. Paul McDonald and Ashwath Rajan, the founders of Bodega, undoubtedly thought this was a great idea, but the internet quickly disabused them of this false notion. After receiving unexpected backlash, the two former-Googlers issued a half-hearted apology via Medium.  The apology focused mostly on the name of their startup, leading us to believe that these two will simply rebrand and go back to “solving” non-existent problems.

As of 2016, there were only 88 tech start-ups owned by Black women. With all the publicity these annoying tech dude bros received, it is only right to shine the spotlight on women of color who are disrupting the tech industry for the better.

Myavana – Candace Mitchell

Myavana is a hair care technology company founded with Black and Brown women specifically in mind. Candace Mitchell, an engineer from the Georgia Institute of Technology, came up with the idea as an undergraduate student who was having trouble finding the right products for her hair. Candace and her Myavana team understand that each person’s hair is as unique as their fingerprint. Myavana caters to its clients’ personal hair care journeys by using science and technology to determine what products, ingredients, regimens, and salons are best based on hair texture, type, and personal needs. Myavana offers a one-time hair analysis for $75.00 or a yearly membership for $250.00.

Airfordable – Ama Marfo

Flights can be a strain on the wallet. Airfordable offers a flexible way to pay for flights. I know. It sounds too good to be true, but it’s legit. Find a flight you want to purchase, upload a screenshot of the flight details, secure your ticket with an initial deposit, and pay the rest in installments before your departure. You’ll receive your e-ticket after completing the final payment. Airfordable secures tickets, so you don’t have to hope prices don’t go up before you can afford the ticket to your destination. Airfordable is breaking down barriers and making travel more accessible.

TAGit – Ana Bermudez

Have you ever been watching “Black-ish” and wished you could press a button and order Zoey’s embellished tops or Rainbow’s jumpsuits? Honestly, me too. Ana Bermudez created an app to allow you to buy items featured on popular shows, including “Pretty Little Liars.”  TAGit aims to add more shows and users by the end of the year. TAGit also allows app users to favorite and gift products to their friends. TAGit goes beyond clothing. Users can also “tag” furniture and other household items. Users can locate items by filtering based on a specific show or by checking out what items their friends have tagged and purchased. Shop from the comfort of your home and dress and live like the people you binge-watch late at night.

Cocoon Cam – Rubi Sanchez

Cocoon Cam is the first product from Rubi Sanchez, an entrepreneur with a background in healthcare and business. Sanchez’s two passions converged when she co-founded Wearless Tech. Cocoon Cam, a smart baby monitor, provides data on a baby’s breathing and temperature without a wearable device. Cocoon Cam is the first baby monitor of its kind as it gives vital sign monitoring and HD video all in one. Sanchez and her team sells peace of mind for new parents by displaying a patented breathing graph that connects to a smartphone. Cocoon Cam fits into the lifestyle of millennial parents and their growing families.

Hooked – Prerna Gupta

Hooked is a narrative fiction app that will make it nearly impossible for you to put down your phone. Hooked creates short horror stories presented as a text message conversation you’re eavesdropping on. Each story only takes about a minute to read, but the app makes you wait awhile for the conclusion if you’re not a paid subscriber.  The suspense will have you…hooked. Prerna Gupta hopes to have an empire as big as YouTube’s. Try Hooked on your next trip on the subway. We know you’re looking at your phone anyway.

Proday – Sarah Kunst

I often tell myself I could be just as fit as Serena Williams if only I knew the secrets to her workout routine. Sarah Kunst created an app that not only gives you a peek into your favorite athlete’s workout routine; Proday allows subscribers to workout with their idols. Proday features a variety of engaging training routines led by fitness celebrities and world-renowned athletes. Subscribers can customize their workout based on their fitness level and goals. Progress is tracked in the app, so you will have your own personal stats. Serena will be so proud.

This post is in partnership with WearYourVoice Mag.