13 Blacks Influencing Technology In a Major Way Today


Heather Hiles, Founder, Pathbrite

As an education tech founder, it’s not always easy to get schools and institutions on board, mostly due to plenty of bureaucracy. That’s why Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles is so impressive. Last year, Pathbrite raised an additional $4 million led by testing behemoth ACT, with participation from Rethink Education for its e-portfolio product for students.

As of March 2013, Pathbrite was in more than 100 universities and school districts. Stanford, for example, purchased 1,000 licenses for students in its design, education, and engineering schools. And as of September 2013, more than 400 schools have used Pathbrite’s new learning platform.

Pathbrite has raised $8 million in total to date and employs 16 people.



Laurence (Lo) Toney, CEO, LearnStreet

During Lo Toney’s two-year stint as general manager at Zynga, Zynga saw its web bookings increase by over 150 percent. Toney also led Zynga’s Casino and Poker strategy and sponsored two acquisitions to further drive game development.

Toney stepped down from Zynga in October 2012, after working there for three years. In February 2013, LearnStreet named Toney as its new CEO. LearnStreet offers online classes to learn how to code.

LearnStreet has raised $1 million to date and employs nine people.


Erik Moore, Founder and Managing Partner, Base Ventures

Erik Moore has invested in nearly two dozen startups, including TracksBy, Ecomom, and Socialcam. He was also among the first investors to finance Zappos, a shoes and apparel company that was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion.

Moore spent 15 years in investment banking at Merrill Lynch before pursuing his entrepreneurship. In 2010, he co-founded FlickrLaunch, a digital streaming platform on Facebook for feature-length movies.

Today, Moore continues to support and invest in startups through his firm Base Ventures, which employs fewer than 10 people.

36. Kimberly Bryant

Kimberly Bryant, Founder, BlackGirlsCode

Kimberly Bryant wants to ensure that young Black girls have the opportunity to learn how to code. In 2011, Bryant founded BlackGirlsCode, a six-week program that teaches basic programming concepts and gives underrepresented youths the chance to learn about robotics, and a wide range of other technological concepts.

Before founding BlackGirlsCode, Bryant spent about a decade in biotechnology where she held several management roles at companies including Genentech, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, and Merck.

BlackGirlsCode, which was founded in 2011, has five employees.