Grand-slam champion and tennis icon Serena Williams will be the keynote speaker for Black Tech Week.
Black Tech Week is a tech-based, ecosystem-building festival bringing together founders, corporations, and the black tech community. The five-day event will take place later in July in Cincinnati.
Founded by Felecia Hatcher and Derick Pearson in Miami in 2016, Black Tech Week brings together tech influencers and innovators to support thriving businesses being built by Black entrepreneurs. The Lighthouse Foundation, spearheaded by Candice Matthews and Brian Brackeen acquired Black Tech week earlier this year.
The tennis superstar, mother of one turned investor will be representing her investment firm, Serena Ventures. Williams serves as the founder and managing partner of the company.
“Black Tech Week is a movement in support of the success of ecosystems being built by Black founders,” said Serena Williams, Managing Partner of Serena Ventures. “I’m looking forward to joining this strong community of talent, connecting and impacting the future of technology.”
Founded in 2014, Serena Ventures was established to focus on providing funding for founders from underrepresented backgrounds. Women typically receive 2% of venture funding, and black founders even less at 1.2%. At Serena Ventures women and black founders are receiving 53% and 47% retrospectively.
Williams is a longtime angel investor and one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world, just behind Naomi Osaka, with a portfolio of endorsements that saw her bring in $34million in 2021.
Her firm already has a roster of company partners, including Masterclass, Billie, and Daily Harvest. Serena Ventures raised $ 11 million for her early-stage venture capital fund in order to “champion” the next generation of entrepreneurs who are changing the industry.
Held from July 18-22, Black Tech Week will include over 60 sessions and present over 50 tech influencers, innovators, and ecosystem builders. Speakers include Black Girls Code Founder Kimberly Bryant, Black Web Fest Founder Victoria Coker, and REVOLT TV CEO Detavio Samuels.
Acquired by Lightship Foundation, the Cincinnati-based economic development organization, Black Tech Week “has been hard at work, ecosystem-building for Black tech communities across the U.S” for the last seven years, says Lightship Foundation Founder and CEO Candice Matthews Brackeen. “We’re so proud of our 2022 conference calendar––and the opportunity to bring this innovative session lineup to our community.”
To view the schedule and learn more about the speakers for Black Tech Week in Cincinnati, click here.