It’s no surprise that America’s tech world seriously lacks diversity. According to Tech Crunch, only 3% of Silicon Valley’s workforce is black and “only 0.0006% of venture capital funding goes to black female founders.” Although black people are 13% of the nation’s population, they only hold 3% of the nation’s wealth.
For the past few years, tech companies have struggled with bringing more diversity to their workforces. In fact, venture capitalist Kobie Fuller, who is a black professional himself, has tried to find a solution to the problem since he experienced the loneliness that can sometimes come with being the only black person in the room.
Fuller also became the go-to person for many startup companies looking to hire candidates of color.
As Fuller says, “people would come to me and say ‘I want to hire more black talent’ and I just didn’t have that magical database in my head. But I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I did have that magic database of talent.”
That’s how Valence came to be. Valence launched on Nov. 5 and is a social network open to any black professional looking to get connected with other black professionals. According to Tech Crunch, “initial candidates are vetted by members of the community, which can vouch for new applicants.”
As Valence’s founder, Fuller hopes to help change the issue of diversity in a few ways. One way is through the invention of the network itself which serves as the main source for companies looking to hire black candidates for their firms.
But Fuller desires to do more than have Valence be a LinkedIn for black talent. The company seeks to set itself apart by celebrating business professionals who are already successful. According to Tech Crunch, members of Valence also have access to “job opportunities from top companies, networking events, advice on raising capital and entrepreneurship, and a targeted mentorship program focused on providing quick bits of advice or references from direct requests posed to network members.”