Authentically Inclusive: TechTalk with Preston James

Posted on 08/11/2020 by Austin Chamber

In the Monday, August 10th TechTalk, SXSW Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest interviewed Preston James, founder of DivInc, who shared how groups like DivInc can survive and thrive in our socially distanced world and what he’s learned on his path to becoming a well-established leader in this much less predictable world of early-stage entrepreneurism.

In 2014, Preston left Dell and decided to become an angel investor because, as he explained, he was aware of only about 10 African American angel investors in the U.S. He decided to become number 11. In 2016, he founded DivInc.

Webinar recording

In this conversation about how we as a community can help support a diverse startup ecosystem, Hugh asks: “How is the startup narrative different for founders of color and female entrepreneurs than the path that white male entrepreneurs might face?”

Preston shared:

“There are a lot of barriers in general for entrepreneurs: that journey is not for the faint hearted. The dream of owning your own business is no different.”
However, that journey is made more difficult for people of color and women because there are more barriers that are buried in bias and racist policies that limit access to resources.”

The conversation also highlighted the the disparity in funding for minorities:

Overall, 1% of venture capital investment goes to Black and Latinx founders, and a woeful .06% goes to Black women founders.

Austin is known for being small business-friendly, and companies in Austin want to help change the status quo of inequity. By supporting organizations like DivInc, investors can support better diversity in early stage founders and ultimately create a stronger, more diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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