Written By: Team Greo
Black people and people of color are creative geniuses. We invent the world’s most compelling trends, score the most popular music, generate the most powerful cultures, and build the most innovative social movements. However, when it comes to technology, we tend to be the biggest consumers but the rarest producers. Why is that?
Our team of conscious-preneurs is especially motivated by the concept of social media and how it has been such a great educational and coalition building tool for people of color from Cairo to Chicago. But the social media outlets out there currently don’t cater to our needs. Twitter is not a safe space, as it lets racism and misogyny flow unchecked. And Facebook creates unhealthy echo chambers and contributed to the election of Donald Trump. So we are on a mission to architect the next generation of social media–social-impact media, if you will.
Greo is a social media app for conversations that matter, ranging from #BLM to environmental sustainability to Beyonce’s Lemonade. These conversations are facilitated by 60 second or less videos made by users. It’s like Medium meets Vine, but is a brave space for people to speak their truth.
Each of us has had experience as a founder before Greo. From education non-profits to learning software, we each love building things that matter. Between us, we have worked at places like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Mozilla, Pinterest, and the White House. But this is our first foray down the traditional startup road.
The reality of Silicon Valley is that it’s a jungle. The white male dominated space presents many challenges for a team for four people of color, two of whom are women of color. We’ve been told that we are not diverse enough in our thought and that we need to hire a Trump supporter to balance us out. We’ve encountered people who have doubted our ability to produce a world-class product based on race and gender. However, we learned that while it’s important to be aware of the often cut-throat and exclusive nature of the tech space, we don’t have to play by those rules. We can operate from a place of inclusivity, generosity, and empathy. If we want to build ecosystems of empowerment and innovation for marginalized people, then we have to begin imagining different parameters to the status quo we want to live in.
We were fortunate to raise $200,000 from Sheel Tyle at New Enterprise Associates before we even had a product. We are currently in our Beta phase, with about 70 people using a trial version of our application before we go live in Winter 2017. We are also blessed to have incredible advisors such as Jason Mayden, former global lead of Jordan Brand at Nike and Troy Carter, former John Legend manager and an Uber and Spotify investor.
Ultimately, we know it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur. So many people have poured into us, from our parents to our professors, to our friends. We want to pave the way for more Black innovators and makers of marginalized backgrounds to be able to bring their dreams to fruition.
Furthermore, there has never been a Black tech company valued at over $1 billion, and we aspire to be the first. But we want to deliver value beyond a market cap. We want to more than a for-profit company, and be a for-progress company. The world needs far more solutions than a social media startup can supply, so it’s important not to overstate the potential impact of our work. However, we do know that technology in the right hands can spur cultural change. And cultural change eventually produces political change. That is our theory, and we are working night and day to turn it into practice.
Team Greo consists of Stanford Alumni and Students. Founders: Tre Kirkman, Elizabeth Davis, Estefania Ortiz, Brandon Hill
To learn more about Greo, check out their website. Feel free to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org