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On campus, we were and are writers, varsity athletes and captains, singers, artists, mentors, award winners, and scholars.

We were also too often: outcasts, minorities, and victims that were belittled, racially abused and largely ignored.

We are now: college graduates, masters students, PhDs, doctors, non-profit leaders, teachers, startup-founders, ivy-league graduates, philanthropists, creatives, technologists, designers, and activists.

When I first enrolled at RCDS as a wide-eyed 5th grader, I had culture shock. …

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I recognize the underrepresentation of black people in the technology industry and work in Philadelphia to help bridge the gap. Still, when organizations leading the charge here fail to do so successfully, I began to realize that the necessary people and resources can exist outside of the region. Venture for America has shown me the benefits of building a network outside of my home base, so when I was fortunately sponsored by Southwest Air and Hillman Accelerator to attend Afrotech, I knew it was an opportunity I could not miss.

I can’t speak to what the conference was like in its inaugural year, but it exceeded expectations the second time around. I view the event, in its most recent instance, as an advanced movie screening. With San Francisco as the scene, the attendees the cast, Afrotech was the sneak peek into the black tech renaissance. …

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“We are the ship; all else the sea”, was Rube Foster’s analogy in explaining the symbiotic relationship between his Negro League and the American and National Leagues. This mutually beneficial partnership is helpful in explaining the development of BFA alongside the growth of VFA.

Together We Rise

As each black fellow enters the often homogenous high-growth startup ecosystem, we are committed to equipping them for success. With BFA, the focus is on facilitating lasting connections across industries and supporting fellows’ side hustles. …


Darren Douglas

UCLA MBA | tech | hoops | @Venture4america alum Harlem shaking through the pressure

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