//OUR STORY

//OUR STORY

Black Tech Nation was launched in 2017 by founder and Executive Director, Kelauni Jasmyn. As a newcomer to Pittsburgh only a year prior, she quickly noticed that this small, but mighty city was rich with opportunity. From its many state-of-the-art institutions and easy access to influential people to its welcoming tech community and millions in annual giving by local foundations, she knew that this city was special. However, she quickly found it odd how it incredibly difficult it was to find other Black technologists and professionals in the circles where important conversations, access to opportunity and innovation were being held. It was obvious that the Black community was painfully absent from these spaces – there was an obvious divide.

Understanding the many opportunities that Pittsburgh offered, Kelauni set her sights on bridging the gap between the Black community and the tech community in Pittsburgh. On April 1, 2017, she hosted a Saturday brunch event entitled “Where is Black Tech in Pittsburgh?”. The event attracted almost 90 technologists, entrepreneurs, leaders, government officials, college presidents, investors, and business professionals from all over the city who were willing to have a hard conversation around the intersection of race, technology, and opportunity in the city. From this event, the idea to build a “Black Tech Nation’ was born. On Jan 1, 2019, Black Tech Nation officially incorporated and won almost $500k in local grant funding by major foudnations to build a Black tech ecosystem in Pittsburgh.

Fast forward several years and one global pandemic later, and Black Tech Nation is now the leader of Black entrepreneurship and technology not only in Pittsburgh, but across the country. The //BTN ecosystem boasts a growing community of 2500+ Black tech startups, entrepreneurs, tech professionals, investors, and partners from around the world as well as partners like Google, Silicon Valley, Bank, and Carnegie Mellon University to name a few. Our mission is simple – to create the next wave of global ‘Black Unicorn’ level companies. We do so by serving as the main support system and backbone for every Black startup founder in the country through countless resources, connections, events and programs curated to meet every need of our members at every stage in their journeys.

Furthermore, after Black Tech Nation “The Community” was established, Kelauni co-founded a sister VC fund called Black Tech Nation Ventures (BTN.vc) which launched in 2020. BTN.vc is now a  $50 million venture fund investing in the top Black and diverse-led, seed-stage startups across The USA, Africa, and Canada. And then in 2022, The Black Fund Managers Forum (BFMF) was launched by BTN.vc as an exclusive network of America’s most successful Black-owned venture funds totaling over $3 billion dollars in assets under management. BFMF is now an official program of Black Tech Nation.

In conclusion Black Tech Nation is now one of the largest ecosystems of startups, founders, investors, and tech professionals in the country who are each dedicated to building the future of tech and innovation – together. And this is only the beginning…

//HER STORY

Kelauni Jasmyn

Founder & CEO of Black Tech Nation; Founding Partner of BTN.vc

Kelauni Jasmyn is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Tech Nation (//BTN) “the nonprofit community” – a national network of Black tech entrepreneurs, professionals, and innovators headquartered in Pittsburgh. She’s also co-founder and one of three General Partners at Black Tech Nation Ventures (BTN.vc), a $50 million dollar fund investing in Black and diverse seed-startups across the country.

Kelauni created the Black Tech Nation ecosystem in 2018 to serve as a much-needed resource Black tech unicorns in Pittsburgh and beyond. //BTN now supports over 2000+ members and allies across the country, and works in partnership with several Pittsburgh foundations, local institutions, global tech companies, and successful venture firms who are dedicated to building a Black Tech Nation that supports the growth of Black opportunity and wealth through entrepreneurship and technology.

In 2020, Kelauni formed Black Tech Nation Ventures (BTN.vc) with Partners David Motley and Sean Sebastian, a $50 million, national fund to support entrepreneurs and seed-stage startups led by Black and diverse founders. BTN.vc has been featured by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and TechCrunch; and has garnered several investments from global Fortune 100 companies such as Bank of America, Google’s Capital G, and Silicon Valley Bank. The firm has made 11 investments thus far and plans to invest in ~30 companies by 2026.

Kelauni is a native Chicagoan and a summa cum laude graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in pre-medicine. You can follow Kelauni at @kelauni_jasmyn on all platforms.

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