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Black Tech Takeover is a 3-day digital conference presented by Birmingham Black Techies. The conference takes place February 3-5 and will include panels, speakers, a career fair, pre & post-event networking, and a partner pitch! Black Tech Takeover is brought to you by Birmingham Black Techies —a supportive community for Black techies headquartered in Birmingham, AL, and now we are taking our experience nationwide!
This session will take place on day 3 but we encourage you to check out the full agenda.
Lead - Breaking Into Venture Initiative
Sydney is a recent Florida A&M University graduate with a B.S in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was the entrepreneurship lead of the BVCC and Seven Hills Capital Entrepreneurship Curriculum. She made her first leap into entrepreneurship when she joined a residential incubator, the ACT House, where students lived in one house, for one year and build a startup. She has excelled in pitch competitions, taking 1st place in Domi Station’s annual pitch competition and in Thurgood Marshall’s “OFC The Pitch 2019”. In her senior year, Sydney transitioned to the flip side of entrepreneurship into venture capital. Sydney was selected as 1 of 6 students to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the Black Venture Capital Consortium where she interned at Precursor Ventures, an early-stage VC fund in San Francisco. She previously served as a lead investor at 4WRD Venture Capital, an early-stage VC fund focused on diversifying founders receiving venture funding. Post-graduation, Sydney accepted an offer with Venture for America, a two-year fellowship program for recent grads who want to become startup leaders and entrepreneurs. She now serves as the Entrepreneurship Associate at Ed Farm and is excited about engaging the Birmingham entrepreneurial ecosystem. She is spearheading the launch of Ed Farm's Ed Tech Accelerator in the summer of 2021. She is also leading an App Design Series in which participants bring their ideas to fruition with a high fidelity prototype and pitch deck.
Ime Essien is a student at Morgan State University studying electrical engineering. He is a student partner at HBCUvc, a student-led investment fund dedicated to HBCU and HSI student and alumni founders. Leading the Baltimore-Washington area investment team he hosts events, assists companies, and runs partner meetings. He also cohosts HBCUvc’s official podcast Divergent Unicorns where he interviews leading black and brown technologists on how they got started in tech. Also started several hiring and corporate partnerships for HBCUvc including Intel Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Mark Cuban.
Ime also participated in their COVID response where he hosted weekly talks with guests tackling issues facing current students during the pandemic, created a resource database, and helped raise $100k to help HBCU students around the country before any other major response team. Finally, he led their in-house accelerator and first request for startups. Previously he was a two-time intern at Intel Capital, Intel’s corporate venture arm. At Intel Capital Ime focused on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and autonomous driving. He participated in deal meetings and portfolio support while developing an investment thesis in these areas. Also, hosted several networking events in conjunction with EVCA and HBCUvc.
Finally he is very active in the startup community in Baltimore where he has helped numerous startups raise capital, close customers, and recruit team members. He has cofounded urConvey, a carpooling application that participated in the Envision Accelerator in summer 2020. Now he works with Mac Conwell, an emerging manager, launching a venture fund focused on rarebreed entreprenuers.
JeanClaude is a 23-year-old Venture Capital Investor and Community Builder living in the Bay Area. He's Currently on the investment team at XYZ Venture Capital, an $80M Fintech and Enterprise focused fund. A few things that drive him are community building, economic empowerment, and access to new opportunities. If gatekeepers work to keep people out, you can think of me as a Trojan horse. I love stumbling into new environments and then reaching back and bringing my community with me.
Mych is a former founder, product guy, and ecosystem builder with a driving mission to build bridges between purpose and resources. Previously, he's helped launch programs from a zero stage and worked with Founders to craft and refine product offerings, business models, and go-to-market strategy. In addition to his role as a Chapter Director with Startup Grind, he also scouts for venture capital and private equity fund and is a Venture Partner for Republic.
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