ThePLUG 2018 Rewind: 105 Top Stories in Black Tech

In 2018, our team delivered 234 newsletters with over 1,500 stories highlighting Black and brown narratives in tech and beyond.

We witnessed a record number of incubators, venture capital funds, and accelerators, uniquely designed to support Black founders by addressing longstanding racial disparities. From a new wave of tech conferences to the dozens of coworking spaces serving as safe spaces for Black entrepreneurs, we’re honored to recognize the key players and emerging founders who are serving our communities through impactful tech, ultimately challenging the status quo.

ThePLUG is dedicated to sharing stories that pinpoint Black ingenuity and innovation without sacrificing quality. This list covers 105 of the most-read stories from our daily newsletter.

Thank you for giving us 234 opportunities to amplify voices that have been historically ignored, but not silenced. You are the PLUG.


Essence Ventures Announces Acquisition of Essence Comm from Time Inc.

Wonderschool Gets $2.1M to Bring its Early Childhood Programs to New York City

Nyansa Lands $15M to Grow User Performance Management

Will Packer Media Acquires Women’s Lifestyle Site xoNecole

NASA Strikes Deal with Howard University to Hire More Black Astronomers


This Engineer Recreated Black History Artifacts in a Groundbreaking 3-D Installation

Amazon Launches ‘Textures & Hues’ Storefront Inspired by Women of Color

Google Expands Howard West to Train More Computer Science Majors Through Intensive Coding

Sixty-Two Black Women in VC You Should Know

Appolition is Collecting Nearly $2K Daily to Fix America’s Troubled Bail System

Meet the Graduates of Founder Gym’s Inaugural Cohort

BLM Cofounder Launches Census Project Surveying 200,000 Black Americans


Inside Steve Stoute’s New Artist-First Music Startup

How These Black Founders Are Building Startups Without Investors

Low-Income Communities Are Building Their Own Internet Networks

Nordstrom Acquires Retail Technology Company MessageYes

Snoop Dogg’s Venture Firm Just Closed its Debut Fund with $45 Million

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and First Round Capital Invest $3 million in Bail Reform Startup Promise

Harlem Capital Wants to Fund 1,000 Founders Of Color

Color Farm Media Uses Blockchain To Defy Hollywood Stereotypes

A Historic Home, Rebooted as an Incubator for Women of Color Who Code

Google Has a Striking History of Bias Against Black Girls

26 Women of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Media, and Beyond

The $80 Billion Reason Why John Legend is Backing Startups Led by Former Inmates


Shear Share Named Co-Winner in Google Demo Day, Secures $250K Investment

Scholly Announces Fund for Howard University Students Impacted By Embezzlement Scandal

An Open Letter to Facebook from the Data for Black Lives Movement

Code2040’s Laura Weidman Powers Is Stepping Down As CEO

This Founder is Raising $1M to Alert Your Emergency Contacts When You Get Pulled Over

35 Latina Tech Founders Who Raised $1 Million in Funding

PopCom Founder Dawn Dickson Details Her Company’s Initial Coin Offerings

Aniyia Williams Was Awarded Her First Patent and Now Wants More Founders of Color to Build Hardware

Green Bits, the “Square for Cannabis,” Raised $17M with Snoop Dogg’s VC Firm Backing

Black Tech Week Founders Open Coworking Space for Entrepreneurs and Tech Training

F4’s Investment Model Index Aims to Remove Bias from Venture Capital  by 2020


The Next Mark Zuckerberg is at a Historically Black College

Pras to Introduce Blockchain Tech-Initiative in Pittsburgh

Beyoncé Is Using Artificial Intelligence To Help You Eat Vegan

BLKTECHCLT Receives $15,000 Grant to Expand Entrepreneur Pilot Program

NASA Shut Down Racist Trolls Targeting Teen Engineers in Tech Competition

National Urban League Examines Tech Gap in State of Black America Report

A $36 Million Fund for Black Women founders? ‘It’s About Damn Time’

This AI-Powered Platform Raised $1.8 million to Identify Voices in Noisy Environments

The Most Enticing Feature at MoviePass is Hurting the Company’s Bottom Line

Apartment Furnishing Startup Nickson Wins $100,00 at Rise of the Rest Competition

Tech’s Race Problem Beyond the Numbers

Debt Payment Startup Qoins Wins the Nation’s Largest Fintech Prize

Few Edtech Companies Able or Willing to Share Stats on Racial Diversity

59 Black Female Executives Explore Intersectional Invisibility and Strategies to Overcome It

AppDynamics Founder Launches $160M Seed-Stage Fund, Partners with HBCUs

The Harvard Undergrad Fixing Finance

Handshake’s Guide to the Top Diversity & Inclusion Conferences of 2018

Mented Cosmetics Raises $3M, Highlighting Opportunity For Multicultural Makeup Brands

Cincinnati Startup ConnXus Lands $2 Million in Venture Capital FundingI


PlayVS Secures $15 Million in Series A with the 49ers and Nas Participating

Patreon Acquires Kit to Automate its Merch Tools for Members

Arlan Hamilton’s Backstage Capital Has Invested in 100 Startups with Underrepresented Founders

LendStreet Raises $7M in Series A + $110M in Debt Financing to Scale Consumer Debt

Bozoma Saint John is leaving Uber for Endeavor

Akon is Launching His Own Cryptocurrency

Blavity Cofounder Announces His Departure

Black Girls Code Has a New Lab Inside Google’s New York Office

TEDCO’s Pre-Seed Builder Fund Will Offer $50k to Underserved Founders


Richelieu Dennis Officially Launches $100M New Voices Fund Supporting WOC Entrepreneurs

Richmond Woman Makes History as First Black Female Nanoscientist in the StateI

Miami-based Facial Recognition Software Startup To Raise New Funding, Inks Acquisition

‘Black & Brown Founders’ Launch Tech Conference In Philadelphia

This VR Founder Wants to Gamify Empathy to Reduce Racial Bias


Reach Capital’s Newest Education Technology Investment Fund Closes at $82 Million

Digital Paint Buying Startup Clare Raised $2 Million

Shaq Backs Atlanta-Based Gig Workforce Assistance Startup’s $9 Million Series A

New Collaborative Report Examines the State of Women and Girls of Color in Computing

Meet 105 Black & Latino Founders Who Raised $1mm+ in VC Funding

Top Tech Firms are Meeting with HBCUs to Create Partnerships

Wonderschool Raises $20M to Help People Start In-Home Preschools

Kevin Durant, Will Smith Top the Lineup for a New Venture-Capital Fund for Black Investors

On-Demand Food Waste Startup Goodr Closes $1.25M

The State of Black Women Getting Funding in 2018

NBA Star Andre Iguodala is Turning More Players Into Tech Investors

This FAMU Student Developed Audio Processing Algorithms to Detect Fraud

Verna Myers Appointed to Executive Position Focused on Inclusion and Diversity at Netflix

Cleo Capital Sets $10M Target to Fund Female Entrepreneurs

Announcing Paystack’s $8 million Series A Round


Backstage Capital to Launch an Accelerator in Four Cities to Promote Underrepresented Founders

Microsoft Joins Forces with Backstage Capital and Black & Brown Founders

This Interior Designer Turned Startup Founder Raised $2M to Revamp the Paint Industry

Base 10’s Debut Fund is the Largest Ever for a Black-Led VC Firm


GitHub’s Brand Campaign Highlights Black Female Founders in an Optimistic Look At Technology

Disney Invests in Renewable Power Company, Uncharted Power

Miami-Based Facial Recognition Company Kairos Sues Former CEO

Intel Reports More Women and African-Americans In Its Workforce After Diversity Push

Can Civic Technology Work in an Era of Incivility?


Robotic Pizza Empire Zume, Co-Founded by Julia Collins Hits $2.25B Valuation

God-is Rivera Joins Twitter as Global Director of Culture and Community

Mayvenn Secures $23M in Funding Led by Essence Ventures

Kairos Founder Countersues His Own Company for $10 Million

PlayVS Opens the Door to a $30M Series B

This Former History Teacher Provides VR Field Trips for Children in  Low-Income Communities

The World Needed a New Biodegradable Plastic—We Discovered One at Tuskegee University


Joy Buolamwini’s New Campaign to Prevent Technological Injustice Through Weaponized Facial Recognition

Birmingham Startup Mixtroz Hits $1 Million in Funding

This AI Rounder Built the First Alexa Skill for On-Demand Therapy

Backstage Capital-Backed CapWay Moves to ATL Expanding its Digital Banking Offerings

Pindrop Raised $90M in Series D

Tristian Walker Announces Procter & Gamble’s Acquisition of Walker & Company

Riche­lieu Den­nis Proposes Using Madam C. J. Walker’s Former Home as Train­ing Cen­ter for Women of Color

Payment Platform Gig Wage Awarded $1M in Seed Funding

ThePLUG Staff

Our stories move beyond popular deficit narratives to show the substantive ways that Black people are affected by and engaged with the innovation economy, including analyses of modern technologies and the structures and cultures.