Google Sponsoring Focus100 Hackathon To Attract Black Women Techies

September 27, 2013  |  

This should be some event! A symposium, bootcamp and hackathon called Focus100 will bring together hundreds of black women programmers, founders, angel investors and innovators on Oct. 4 in New York City.

“Twenty-five percent of our attendees for the hackathon will be African-American women coders,” a conference spokesperson told Venture Beat.

Most programmers are white males, who are invited as well.  Focus100, however, aims to reach out to a broad audience. In fact, the conference bills itself as “the most diverse tech conference on the planet.”

“The black community, especially black women, are a vital part of the overall tech ecosystem, as both consumers and creators,” says Kathryn Finney, managing director of the conference and digitalundivided. “If you’re looking for diversity in terms of ideas and thoughts around technology and the startup world, then you must attend FOCUS100.”

Sponsoring the event is Google while Facebook and Microsoft both have key developers and leaders helping with the conference and hackathon. Venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz is an event sponsor. This is an important partner given that the goal of Focus100 is to get 100 women founders in the technology sector funded by 2015, noted Venture Beat.

Previous Focus100s have proven to be valuable to new black female tech startups. “Forty tech companies that were founded or cofounded by African American women were at Focus100 last year, and 20 percent of them have taking at least one funding round since. All receive mentorship and guidance from some of the planet’s biggest tech companies, including Microsoft and Facebook,” reports Venture Beat.

This year’s hackathon on Focus100 2013 is focused on increasing civic data access to urban communities on mobile platforms. It is only fitting, since African Americans are overindexed on mobile.

Eighty percent of attendees or speakers will be either women or people of color and include TaskRabbit chief operating officer Stacy Brow-Philpot, MC Hammer, Heather Miles from Pathbrite, and FCC chairperson Mignon Clyburn.

“Interestingly, technology evangelist Adria Richards, who was embroiled in a controversy over perceived sexual harassment last year that resulted in both a Playhaven developer getting fired and Richards losing her own job, will help mentor the coders involved in the hackathon, along with tech leaders from Microsoft and Victoria’s Secret,” reports Venture Beat.

We’ll be there. Will you?

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