Urban Tech Connect // Forward 2021 kicked off with energetic conversations and valuable insights for attendees from across the tech ecosystem.

Day 1 of the virtual three-day conference included engaging on-demand sessions, office hours powered by Mailchimp, a networking lunch powered by ChowNow, and informative workshops. The first day also featured these fantastic live sessions:

Turning a World-Changing Startup Idea into Reality
Cheryl Contee, chief innovation officer of The Impact Seat, and Isaac Hayes III, founder and CEO of Fanbase, joined Digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian for an inspiring conversation about getting started in entrepreneurship.

“Black founders, we’re so used to being an army of one and pushing hard as an individual,” Contee said. “Yet, any investor is going to tell you that you cannot do it alone.” Hayes III spoke about how equity crowdfunding is disrupting venture capital, touching on his experience using the approach to raise a $3.2 million seed round for his startup.

Backing Opportunities that Bring Us Forward
This lively panel included David Hall, managing partner for Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Portfolia Rising America Fund investor Juliana Garaizar, and Courtside Venture partner Kai Bond, RareBreed Ventures managing partner McKeever Conwell, and Plug In South LA founder Derek Smith.

“Keep in mind when you are pitching to investors, you’re not just competing against all the companies in your sector but also all the companies a VC will see over a period of time,” Conwell advised founders.

Their conversation also highlighted recent VC movements to back more diverse founders. Kai Bond said that, at least once a month, he’s seeing POC-led startups raise north of $100 million. The panelists agreed there’s more potential than ever for Black and Brown founders to reach “unicorn” status with companies valued over $1 billion.

Coming up on Day 2, we’ve got more can’t-miss sessions curated specially for startup founders, investors, tech pros, job-seekers, and recent grads.

Want to join? It’s not too late to attend: Grab your tickets for Day 2 and Day 3 here.