Did you know that a staggering 75% of LGBTQIA+ founders feel the need to hide their true selves, and 80% of investors think the same way?
Concealing one's identity can have severe consequences. Those include substance abuse, depression, and negative impacts on memory retention. These findings were revealed in the first Proud Ventures report on LGBTQIA+ founders. They shed light on the work that still needs to be done to create a more equitable and accepting entrepreneurial landscape.
But there is hope. Despite their challenges, some inspiring founders are rising to the challenge. They are breaking down barriers and creating innovative solutions for underserved populations. I want to introduce you to four of these founders: Riley Blackwell, Traci Keen, Frances Bell, and Annie Brown. They are using their unique experiences to create products that help the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized groups.
Riley Blackwell from Together
“I work to create visibility for people who feel invisible,” says the founder. “We are a group of people in tech that is resource-drained. It's time we change that.”
Traci Keen from Mate Fertility
“We make fertility treatment accessible to people geographically and financially, particularly the LGBTQ+ community.” Her team is enabling supporters to participate in their current round. You can participate here.
Frances Bell in Stealth Mode
Frances Bell is an entrepreneur who uses her experience in engineering and product to bridge the gap between utilities and energy technology developers. She has over a decade and a half of experience growing early energy products into established technologies.
A space that traditionally doesn’t see a lot of diversity. “You can’t fix the problems we’re facing by being more confident and ‘leaning in,’” says the founder, who advocates for systemic change. She’s currently developing a new energy product idea in stealth mode.
Annie Brown from Reliabl
Annie Brown (she/they) is the founder of Reliabl, an inclusive data annotation solution for community moderation and machine learning efficiency. "Our moderation AI tool is deeply rooted in feminist philosophy. It’s about data sovereignty and moderation transparency. Users get to label data from the bottom-up as opposed to the top-down approach of non-diverse data scientists categorizing user-generated content,” explains the founder.
Reliabl has ambitious goals to reduce the bias of data sets and improve their accuracy. “We want to improve the online experience for marginalized groups and help platforms meet new moderation transparency regulations.”
These founders are true trailblazers, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future. So let's give them the recognition they deserve and support their mission to create a better world for all.