SF/Oakland, CA January 31, 2015
Increasing Diversity - The Billion Dollar Opportunity

Less than 2 years ago a16z invested $15M into RapGenius and I thought, "I would have never thought of creating a website to translate rap lyrics." It was a service I largely didn’t need. I’m not a Hip-Hop expert but most rap lyrics reference elements of the black community, culture and livelihood, a scene I’m tremendously familiar with. It made absolute sense that it’d never appear to me as a problem that needed to be solved, which led me to wonder, What problems are there in the world that the African-American and Latino experience and perspective privy us to? How can our unique experiences and background shape our understanding of technological innovation? Similarly, Tristan Walker made a big splash into the tech startup scene last year with his newest product, Bevel. His earliest critics couldn’t find value in something as simple as a razor but through Tristan’s perspective, there was nothing on the market that targeted and solved the haircare problems of men of color, men who typically have curly and kinky hair. Like the founders of RapGenius, Walker and minorities like him bring a unique perspective, also one that presents a huge business opportunity. With the African-American buying power already at $1 trillion and the population of people of color in the United States steadily growing, the simple diversification of Silicon Valley would be a game changer.