BHM - Celebrating Outstanding Black Women in UK Tech
This Black History Month, we're shining a spotlight on remarkable black women in the UK tech ecosystem who are shaping the future of the industry. In the ever-evolving world of technology, these trailblazers are redefining possibilities and leaving an indelible mark on the sector.
We've categorised them as Changemakers, Founders, and Investors. Their stories are a testament to resilience, innovation, and unwavering determination. They aren't just breaking through glass ceilings; they're paving the way for future generations of aspiring technologists.
Since 2018, Izzy has supported founders from underrepresented groups in the predominantly white and male tech industry. Her startup accelerator, Foundervine, offers mentorship, training, and financial support to early-stage companies. More than 300 entrepreneurs have launched new businesses with Foundervine's help.
Flavilla is a serial entrepreneur, founder of Tech London Advocates Black Women in Tech group, and a brand advisor for the BBC. She is a sensational creative brand strategist with neuroscience expertise. Her award-winning branding and marketing agency, 3 Colours Rule, and Tech Brains podcast, provide insights to tech entrepreneurs and companies.
Anne-Marie is a respected thought leader in the tech space and co-founder of Stemettes, a social initiative dedicated to inspiring and promoting young women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In 2017 she was awarded an MBE for her work as a renowned champion and inspiration for women looking to find a role in the world of STEM. Voted the most influential woman in tech in the UK in 2020, she also hosts the Women Tech Charge Podcast for the Evening Standard. And to top all that, Ann-Marie is also a visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland and sits on the Council of Research England as well as being the current President of the British Science Association.
Oyin runs Niyo, a group of multi-award-winning companies specialising in using technology to empower black women economically. Niyo offers bootcamps focused on tech careers, entrepreneurship, and hair and beauty. Their technology software is reshaping beauty, hair, and fashion and enhancing access to hair and beauty products.
Deborah is the Founder and CEO of YSYS, a community-driven organisation committed to increasing opportunities for diverse founders and talent within the UK startup ecosystem. YSYS has provided access to opportunities for over 17,000 diverse individuals through programs, events, and training. Deborah sits on the Advisory Board for Coders of Colour, DCMS Digital Council, Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council, and No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme.
Charlene has been a software developer for over a decade and is the founder and CEO of Coding Black Females, a non-profit organisation to inspire, provide opportunities, and showcase the talents of black women in tech.
Natalie Ojevah created Barclays' Black Founders Accelerator in 2020, supporting over 115 Black-founded businesses. She received an MBE in 2022 and serves as Eagle Labs' Diversity & Inclusion Lead. Natalie also co-founded 'The Hustle Table' podcast to inspire listeners with career lessons.
Karen is the CEO and Founder of Black Girls in Tech. She is a highly accomplished techpreneur, founder, speaker, and diversity & inclusion advocate. With a passion for using technology to drive positive change in society, Karen brings a unique perspective to the tech industry, combining innovation with a strong ethical foundation.
Jospehine is the Founder & CEO of Sojo, a FashionTech start-up hoping to help make fashion circular. Vogue describes Sojo as the "Deliveroo for clothing repairs," A clothing alterations and repairs app for people who need trousers hemmed or zippers replaced. Sojo also launched a B2B product that enables brands to offer a seamless, convenient and scalable tailoring and repair service to their customers The company raised 2.4 million in pre-seed funding in 2022. Watch her recent Ted Talk here.
Chantelle is the co-founder of Syrona Health, a health-tech company which aims to support people going through Chronic Conditions such as Endometriosis with symptom tracking, insights, community and a curated shop with service and products. Syrona is an employee benefits solution for 45% of the workforce that go through chronic gynaecological health conditions offering support through their virtual clinic which provides diagnostic, telemedicine and self-management tools.
Mandy is the Co-founder of Startup Discovery School. She is a global innovation strategist at the intersection of early-stage ventures and sustainability. She consults for businesses and governments on ESG and sustainability, advises the UK Government on SME action, and advocates for diversity, equity, and climate solutions in tech. Mandy has coached and helped raise investment for over 200 startups ranging from sectors such as FMCG, Fintech, Clean tech, bio tech and many more. In 2022, she was awared an MBE for showcasing excellence and providing services to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Her mission: helping leaders drive sustainability through social and environmental solutions.
Dupe is the Founder and CEO of Bloomful, a smart clinic platform for women to diagnose and treat their reproductive health conditions. Bloomful’s mission is to build an entirely new care pathway for women’s gynaecological health. Through monthly membership they offer deeper diagnostics, including blood testing and consultations, and longer-term support, personalised recommendations, programmes and curated content.
Bev is the CEO and Co-founder of Overploy. The business is revolutionising how retail marketing teams in large organisations save on external agency costs for content creation. How? They’re tapping into their most valuable asset - their employees. Overploy empower employees to earn extra by doing what they're passionate about — creating content. Only recently has Bev and Overploy become VC-backed.
Varaidzo is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ruka Hair. Ruka Hair makes extensions that match the different types of curly and coily hair found on Black women. Ruka Hair was founded out of a need to find hair extensions that not only replicate the texture of their natural hair but keep their locks healthy underneath. The brand has been seen on the likes of broadcasting and radio host Julie Adenuga, sprinter Dina Asher Smith and actor Demi Singleton and even Tennis royalty Serena Williams.
Abadesi is the Founder and CEO of Hustle Crew. She’s been awarded accolades including Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Women in Tech, Financial Times list of Top 100 Influential Leaders in Tech and Tech Nation’s 50 most prominent and influential voices in Tech. In 2016 she published her careers advice book, Dream Big Hustle Hard: A Millennial Woman’s Guide to Success in Tech. She currently is the Co-Host of Techish, a Top 20 Tech podcast on Apple Podcasts.
Nicole is the Founder and CEO of Black Girl Fest, an Award-winning Creative Studio building project which aims to empower Black women and non-binary people through educating and equipping community members with tools for professional success. In 2018, Forbes listed Nicole as one of 100 women to follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Erika is an award-winning entrepreneur. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kinhub (formerly Kami), a platform offering personalised employee wellbeing support for life's key journeys, helping people be more present at home and more productive at work. Erika is also the Head of Research at Extend Ventures, a business, research & financial experts group using the power of big data and machine learning to diversify access to finance. She is passionate about building products and services in the ed-tech, child, and parental wellbeing markets that disrupt and spearhead a path out of outdated systems.
Chenelle is an Investor, Consultant and Advisor passionate and committed to ensuring diverse founders get access to capital and development that they need to grow. She is the Founding partner at LightPace VC, Venture Capital firm backing founders obsessed with using technology to meaningfully advance people and our planet in Climate tech and Financial Inclusion. Chenelle is also the founder and MD of Nell Consulting, specialising in Fintech strategy.scaling operations and procurement. She’s been featured in the Sunday Times, BBC news and BBC radio 4.
Chantal graduated from the University of Bristol with degrees in Medicine and Bioethics. She started her career in the NHS, working as a junior doctor in one of London's busiest major trauma centres where she witnessed the disparities that exist in healthcare first-hand, and the potential for innovation and entrepreneurship to improve health outcomes. She now works at Octopus Ventures driven by the potential for innovation and entrepreneurship to improve health outcomes.
June is an investor at Samos Investments & the Founder of Levare Ventures, an angel syndicate that co-invests into African Startups via Odin . She started the UK's first child-friendly coding school for mums, Mums in Tech. She's a strong advocate for working mothers and underrepresented founders.She is passionate about getting people from all backgrounds into careers in tech and helping more underrepresented founders gain access to funding. June was one of 40 powerful women selected to feature in Lancome's Teint Idole 40 shades ad 40 powers campaign. In 2020, June was awarded an MBE for services to Women in Technology.
Olamide is part of the Octopus Ventures investment team in B2B Software, with experience in startups, consulting, and venture capital. She learned more about the European start-up ecosystem as a Strategy Consultant at KPMG, which inspired her to immerse herself in the world of Venture Capital. From there, she moved to the Bayes Entrepreneurship Fund, where her role as an Investor gave her hands-on experience with early-stage B2B software companies.
Ella is a Partner at Cornerstone VC. She spearheads the development of Cornerstone’s in-house coaching practice to support the leadership potential of its portfolio companies. Her previous roles saw her working at M&C Saatchi creating marketing campaigns and also JamJar Investments, where she ran the deal process and led the process from first call to close.
Yvonne is a Partner at LocalGlobe and Latitude. She is also a founding member of Impact X Capital LLP and an investor in much-loved companies such as Wise (previously Transferwise), Flutterwave and Marshmallow. Her previous roles include investment banking at Goldman Sachs and representation on the board of HarbourVest Global Private Equity. She currently sits on the board of Innovate Finance and is also a member of the London Hub of Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum, a community of young people driving change. She has been featured in many publications including Forbes, Management Today and The Financial Times. In 2020 she was listed on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Europe Finance List, along with a position on Forbes’ 25 Leading Black British People.
These exceptional black women are not only making strides in the tech industry but also paving the way for future generations of aspiring technologists. They are champions of diversity, innovation, and empowerment in the world of technology.