10 Black-owned Tech Companies You Should Know

These black-owned companies are breaking new ground in AI, robotics, medtech, battery tech, and more.
  • Black inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs have always made significant historical contributions to science and technology. The growth of new technologies such as AI, VR/AR, blockchain, and even synthetic biology are opening up new avenues and opportunities for black businesses and startups all over the world.

    Here are some of the most innovative tech companies with black founders that are poised to make major breakthroughs in their respective industries.

  • AbiliLife

    Inspired by her own experiences caring for a mother with Parkinson's disease, AbiliLife's founder and CEO Dr. Courtney Williamson started her tech company AbiliLife with the goal of improving the quality of life for elderly patients and patients with neuromuscular diseases. The company's flagship product is the Calibrace+, a back brace designed specifically for patients with neurodegenerative illness. The Calibrace+ is lightweight and corrects posture to improve the patient's gait, balance, ability to swallow, and reduce back pain.

    (Image source: AbiliLife)

  • Black Girls Code

    Black Girls Code has a singular mission – to encourage African-American girls, ages 7 to 17, to study STEM and computer programming. The company offers classes, community workshops, and after school programs covering topics ranging from learning languages like Python or Ruby to artificial intelligence, VR, and robotics. In a statement, founder Kimberly Bryant, said she started Black Girls Code after seeing a lack of women like herself in engineering. “Much has changed since my college days, but there’s still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering and math professions, an absence that cannot be explained by, say, a lack of interest in these fields. Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM topics are the likelier culprits.”

    (Image source: Black Girls Code)

  • Johnson Battery Technologies

    Engineer and serial inventor Lonnie Johnson once disrupted summer vacations and pool parties forever when he invented the Super Soaker. But these days he has his sights set on a more ambitious goal. His newest company, Johnson Battery Technologies (JBT), is developing ceramic, solid-state battery technology designed to outperform lithium-ion batteries in terms of size, capacity, and lifespan. JBT says its batteries are also safer than lithium-ion due to the use of glass electrolytes instead of liquid electrolytes and are able to withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit . JBT is currently engaging companies in the oil and gas, automotive, and medical device industries to bring products utilizing its battery technology to market.

    (Image source: Johnson Battery Technologies)

  • Kiverdi

    California-based Kiverdi is a green tech and sustainability company focused on carbon transformation – breaking down CO2 and other carbon materials and reforming them into more environmentally-friendly products. The company's technology is inspired by NASA's use of single-cell organisms to convert carbon dioxide into food for astronauts. Among Kiverdi's commercial solutions is Air Protein, a system that combines CO2, oxygen, and nitrogen pulled from the air with water and minerals to create a protein that can be used to create meat substitutes.

    (Image source: Kiverdi)

  • Lisner

    Lisnr is an Ohio-based company that has developed an alternative to Bluetooth and near field communication (NFC) for transferring mobile data transfer for services like file sharing and mobile transactions. The company's technology uses the microphone in your smartphone to transmit data using ultrasonic sound waves. Lisner says its software-based solution eliminates the need for companies to adopt new hardware and its use of ultrasonic creates a means of fast and reliable communication between devices that is also low-energy. In 2019 the company received an investment and entered into a relationship with Visa to explore the use of its technology for mobile payments.

    (Image source: Lisner)

  • PopCom

    PopCom specializes in automated retail technology for vending machines and kioisks. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the company aims to bring seamless, software-driven transactions to retail outlets. The company has developed a series of “smart kiosks” capable of learning from every transaction they conduct. Using embedded cameras, the kiosks can gather emotional cues from customers and also track metrics like their age and gender – giving vendors analytics into the customer experience that can help them modify their procedures or sales language or adjust their branding. The company is also leveraging blockchain technology to provide secure transactions within its machines.

    (Image source: PopCom)

  • Pindrop

    Atlanta-based Pindrop is provider of enterprise-grade security solutions that use voice authentication. The company's proprietary Deep Voice biometric technology uses deep learning and speech recognition to augment PIN and password-based security systems with a user's voice. Pindrop's AI technology is also able to combat voice fraud – instances where criminals try to impersonate someone's voice or disguise their voice to trick customers and service personnel. The company sees it technology having use cases in smart home security, banks, retail, healthcare, and even connected cars.

    (Image source: Pindrop)

  • Raycon

    Raycon is a wireless earbud and headphone company founded by William Raymond Norwood Jr. – better known as R&B singer and actor Ray J. While he's not the first musician to get into creating his own headphones (see Beats by Dre), Ray J's Raycon offers a series of true wireless earbuds aimed at providing the quality of major brands like Apple, Jabra, and JBL but at a more attractive price point. The company's premium earbuds, The Performer E55 (shown), boast a 36-hour battery life and wireless charging capabilities.

    (Image source: Raycon)

  • Reach Robotics

    The UK's Reach Robotics is one of the most unique companies to emerge in the robotics and entertainment space in recent years. The company is combining robotics and augmented reality to create entertainment products that create video game-like experiences with physical robots. The company's first product is MekaMon, “the world's first gaming robot.” The quadrupedal robot can be controlled via smartphone or other mobile device, via an accompanying app, and an augmented reality overlay through your device's screen allows you to play a number of pre-made and custom-designed games) – placing the robot inside of a digitally-rendered environment.

    (Image source: Reach Robotics)

  • Rubitection

    Pittsburgh-based Rubitection is a medical device startup developing a solution for early bedsore detection for elderly and disabled patients. The company is developing a combination probe and software solution called the Rubitect Assessment System that scans a patient's skin and makes an assessment of the health of the skin to provide early warnings for bedsores. Rubitech says its solution can be deployed in hospitals, homes, and nursing homes, and provides more reliable consistency and tracking than other solutions for detecting bedsores. By working directly on the skin, the Rubitect System also makes early bedsore detection more reliable for patients with darker skin tones.

    (Image source: Rubitection)

 

Chris Wiltz is a Senior Editor at   Design News  covering emerging technologies including AI, VR/AR, blockchain, and robotics

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