I would like to share my post published on Startup America Partnership’s blog.
During the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual legislative conference, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee convened a panel discussion on diversity in the technology sector, “African Americans: Joining the Leading Edge of the High Tech Boom.”
This first-ever CBC convening of tech entrepreneurs and thought leaders was designed to identify strategies to open up “a whole new area of job growth and wealth creation for our communities.” Jackson Lee said:
The whole industry has moved and the question is: Where are we? We have no time to wait.
Rep. Jared Polis, a co-founder of TechStars, sees opportunities in disruptive services and products. The value proposition is the new efficiency the idea introduces in the economy. But keep in mind investors fund the team not an idea. “They’re funding the team rather than a great idea because an idea can change depending on the market reaction.”
To be successful, you must know the language and culture of the industry. Polis said:
It’s a different language that these people speak. It’s the language of capital and entrepreneurship. You need to study the language so that you speak the language of venture capitalists.
That doesn’t mean you have to go to business school. In fact, most founders don’t. You must know the basic principles of finance, including your ABCs – Series A, Series B and Series C funding rounds.
You also must learn the culture. So mind your Ps and Qs and dress for success.
While networks matter, Polis observed:
It’s not an old boys’ network. It’s a young boys’ network. When you have a young boys’ network, it’s easier to break into…You still have to build the networks.