Yes, that was “our” Mitch Kapor on last night’s Black in America 4: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley on CNN. Mitch and Kapor Capital were major supporters of the NewMe Accelerator featured in the documentary.
The pre-screenings of BIA4 set off a controversy in the blog/Twittersphere about diversity in the information technology industry, especially regarding the distribution of startup capital to entrepreneurs of color and women founders. CNN posted a response here, and Mitch wrote a compelling post here.
Regardless of the illusions of meritocracy in Silicon Valley – that anyone can get financed, one just has to be smart and work hard – those of us who have an expansive vision for a functioning USA must press to ensure that underrepresented people of color and women are in the game, and that their brilliant ideas for job-and-services-generating business ventures are also capitalized and supported. Not only is this a matter of fairness, but it’s a smart business decision – we need all hands on deck to get this economy moving again.
Based in part on the experiences over the summer with NewMe, our board has charged the Foundation with beginning to explore how we can support the diversification of info tech and how tech tools can be used to further the impact of social justice work. Please stay tuned for more information about how this will unfold in 2012.
(And yes, we did get to meet Soledad O’Brien when the crew was in our offices taping! I’m a fan!)