Building an inclusive tech ecosystem starts at the city level — Oakland is leading the #TechDoneRight way

The Kapor Center’s #TechDoneRight Day was more than just a series of events — it was the manifestation of an inclusive tech ecosystem in action — starting at the city level — zip code by zip code. The day seemed like a far-reaching goal 5 weeks ago when we started planning but it has been the culmination of the work being done over last three years at the Kapor Center, as we took the public position to make Oakland the home of Tech Done Right.

Bright and Early…

We started early in the morning with 40+ ecosystem members who helped validate insights from our placed based programs alongside the City of Oakland. We had cross-sector representation including academia, tech employers, tech training organizations, entrepreneurs, and local government in order to tackle the leaky tech pipeline challenges in Oakland together. We validated key community needs and services through community programs reaching hundreds across Oakland and around the country. Here are some of those key Oakland Ecosystem programs:

Top Left to Right: City of Oakland represented by Marisa Raya, Jose Corona, Kapor Center programs reps included TechHire Oakland (Kirsten Lundgren), Oakland Startup Network (Chris McLemore), Latinx in Tech (Josh Torres), Innovation Lab (Meghna Mahadevan), Tech Done Right Challenge (Sergio Rosas), alongside Kapor Center’s Community Engagement Manager Tiffany Price, Chief Research Officer Dr. Allison Scott and Chief Tech Community Officer Lili Gangas
  • TechHire Oakland develops and implements career pathways that advance underrepresented East Bay residents into high-pay, high-growth tech careers.
  • Oakland Startup Network provides tech resources that accelerate tech startups by local women and founders of color.
  • Kapor Center Innovation Lab is a space committed to closing equity gaps in access to social and financial capital for East Bay underrepresented, community-focused founders.
  • Latinx in Tech propels U.S. Latinx community into tech leadership through building an intersectional, inclusive social capital and employment resource network.

Ending 2018 with community…

We closed out the evening celebrating this ecosystem in action where six nonprofits and eight startups pitched in front of 130+ East Bay community members at the Oakland Museum of California in partnership with Black Girl Ventures. In less than 3 hours, $68,000 was reinvested into the community by the community as we awarded cash prizes to all 14 organizations.

Lili Gangas closing Tech Done Right Demo Night at Oakland Museum of California after announcing final prizes for all 14 organizations.

So who pitched?… Meet the #TechDoneRight Founders

Dynamic Duo Category (awarded to TechHire Oakland members)

  • (Crowd Favorite)The Hidden Genius Project & David E. Glover Education and Technology (DEGT) partnered to provide design and product building workshops to East Oakland youth. DEGT provides East Bay talent free access to the tools of technology, engineering, innovation, and design. Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities.
  • Code Berkeley provides a low cost/free solution for gaining career-ready skills in Tech.
  • Code Nation equips students in under-resourced high schools with the skills, experiences, and connections that together create access to careers in technology.

Community Warrior Category (awarded to East Bay nonprofits)

  • (Crowd Favorite) Concrn provides a compassionate alternative to 911 for people experiencing mental health crisis and homelessness.
  • Gameheads provides training programs that use video game design, development and DevOps to create diverse talent and bold new voices, train youth for the tech ecosystem, and prepare them for college, career and civic life.
  • TechXchange provides equitable digital access to underserved Bay Area community members.

Oakland Grown Category (awarded to Oakland Startup Network startups)

  • (Crowd Favorite) Trippie is working to help travelers navigate busy airports.
  • ToyBox makes 3D Printing accessible to children.
  • Literator is helping teachers track their students’ success by moving entire reading conference binder online, track progress, and receive data-driven prompts.
  • Wine & Bowties — Providing access & opportunities for talented POC, queer, and women-centered creative communities in digital storytelling, content creation, and the art/curatorial world.

Tech for Good Startups (awarded to East Bay gap closing startups)

  • (Crowd Favorite) Curated x Kai makes quality education accessible to students, globally leveraging culturally relevant education focused on virtual reality experiences.
  • LAWP is solving the Access to Justice (A2J) gap for low and diverse income individuals through fully voiced legal artificial intelligence programs and voiced public resources programs.
  • QPi Education teaches modern project-based K-12 STEM has a high barrier to entry and can be intimidating resulting in low adoption into schools despite being research-backed as an effective approach for students.
  • MyUmbrella is closing the inclusivity gap within the LGBTQ community.

Special thank you to our Demo Night community judges and partners that a mix of perspective bridging the best of the nonprofit & startup world together — Sydney Thomas (Investor & Head of Operations at Precursor Ventures), Byron Johnson(Capacity Building Initiative Officer of East Bay Community Foundation),Sean Murphy (CEO of ICA Fund Good Jobs), and Shelly Bell (Founder & CEO of Black Girl Ventures).

We are creating a unique community led hybrid of social justice + tech + and capital that I hope other philanthropists, foundations, and investors can be inspired from. Our local leaders, entrepreneurs, and talent need us more than ever, so let’s show up even stronger and in new ways in 2019. Time for new inclusive systems to be built.

On that note…..We will continue to invest even more in 2019 so stay tuned for the launch of a $1,000,000 challenge!