AfroTech 2023: Riding to A Celebration of Black Excellence in Tech.


November 5, 2023

AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 02: Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith attends the 2023 Afrotech Conference Innovation Stage – Day One at ACL Live on November 02, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for AfroTech)


Angel Investor William Andre Buchanan and RIDEPLAY tv are often at the most innovative and exciting tech expos but none few display the essence of culture quite such as the AfroTech conference. AfroTech 2023 was a five-day event that brought together thousands of black tech professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in Austin, Texas. The conference, which took place from November 1 to 5, 2023, was the largest and most influential gathering of its kind, featuring inspiring speakers, engaging sessions, networking opportunities, and cultural experiences. This year’s event returned to Austin, Texas and brought together more than 160 partners, 100+ booths, and over 30 thousand Black professionals, many of whom are shaping equity and DEI initiatives at America’s largest corporations. The festivities kicked off with a welcome reception for corporate professionals and executive leaders, where they had the chance to connect with peers and industry influencers. The conference featured a variety of programming options, the Expo Floor, the Culture Park, including the Innovation Stage, the Product & Engineering Stage, the Learning Labs, and the Curated MeetUps & Receptions.


AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 03: (L-R) Chief Executive Officer, Producer, Actress and Writer at HOORAE Issa Rae and Senior Vice President, AfroTech and Talent Infusion at Blavity, Inc. Simone White speak during the Women’s Summit | A conversation with Issa Rae at the 2023 AfroTech Conference Summit Stage at Austin Convention Center on November 03, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for AfroTech)


Some of our favorite highlights of the conference included:

  • From Producer to Founder: A Conversation with Timbaland | Presented by SVB, where Speaking about his journey from producer to founder, Timbaland shared the resilience and trend-spotting abilities that have kept him ahead of the curve. Later in the discussion, he shared insight into how technology is reshaping the music industry and the impact it is having on music creation, distribution, and consumption.
  • Sports Summit | Elevating Sports & Entertainment with Tech, where Lockerverse Co-Founder, Trey McDonald, sat down with Athletes First Sports Agents David Mulugheta and Jeremy Hills for a discussion that explored the impact of technology on sports and entertainment. They discussed how technology is reshaping athlete and entertainer connections, enabling the creation of compelling narratives, merchandising access, gaming experiences, and vibrant communities.
  • Powering Forward: Creating a Shared Digital Future with Robert F. Smith, where Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith sat down with Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Base10 Partners, Adeyemi Ajao and spoke about the power of technology and the digital economy. Smith shared insights into the technology landscape and what he views as our collective opportunity and why diversity will be imperative to unleashing our digital future.
  • Women’s Summit | A conversation with Issa Rae, where producer, Actress, Writer, and Chief Executive Officer of HOORAE, Issa Rae sat down with SVP of AfroTech and Talent Infusion at Blavity Inc., Simone White, and spoke about her journey from early success to founding her groundbreaking media company. Issa Rae shared her vision for the future of entertainment and shared her insights into what’s next on the creative horizon.
  • The Innovation Stage, where attendees heard from some of the most successful and influential black tech entrepreneurs, investors, and executives. They shared their stories, insights, and advice on how to start, grow, and scale a tech business, as well as how to navigate the challenges and opportunities in the tech industry.
  • The Product & Engineering Stage, where attendees learned from some of the best and brightest black engineers, designers, and product managers, who showcased their skills, projects, and best practices on topics such as data science, machine learning, blockchain, cloud computing, and more.
  • The Learning Labs, where attendees participated in interactive workshops, masterclasses, and mentoring sessions, led by experts and mentors from various fields and disciplines. They gained valuable knowledge and skills on topics such as personal branding, career development, fundraising, pitching, and more.
  • The Expo Floor, where attendees met and interacted with representatives from some of the most innovative and inclusive tech companies, such as Google, JP Morgan, Netflix, Nasdaq, and more. They also had the opportunity to explore and discover new products, services, and solutions from emerging and established black-owned tech startups and businesses.
  • The Culture Park, where attendees enjoyed and celebrated the rich and diverse culture of the black community, through music, art, food, and entertainment. They also witnessed and participated in live performances, showcases, and competitions, featuring some of the most talented and creative black artists, musicians, and creators.
  • The Curated MeetUps & Receptions, where attendees connected and networked with like-minded individuals and groups, based on their interests, identities, and backgrounds. They also attended exclusive and intimate events, such as the Student Recruiting, the LGBQIA+, the HBCU, the Data & Sales, the Engineering, and the Creators meetups and receptions.
  • VC Trends for 2024, where MaC Venture Capital Co-Founder and Managing General Partner, Marlong Nichols, sat down with Harlem Capital Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Henri Pierre-Jacques, and Collide Capital Founder and Managing Partner, Aaron Samuels who spoke about proactive strategies and insights to optimize fundraising journeys including how to build investor relationships, perfecting pitches, and streamlining fundraising strategies.


AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 03: (L-R) Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Harlem Capital, Henri Pierre-Jacques and Co-Founder & Managing General Partner of MaC Venture Capital, Marlon Nichols attend the 2023 AfroTech Conference Innovation Stage – Day Two at ACL Live on November 03, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images for AfroTech)


Memorable brand activations included the following:

  • Lexus
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Mastercard
  • Apple
  • American Express
  • Capital One
  • and more…


AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 04: A general view of the atmosphere is seen at the 2023 AfroTech Conference Music Stage on November 04, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for AfroTech)


The conference was capped off by a live music concert featuring sounds by DJ Spinderella and performances by DJ Hunny Bee, Joe Kay, Andre Power, Jadakiss and the one & only Rick Ross himself. The night was a whole vibe presented by Lexus. The concert was hosted at Culture Park and included food trucks, music, vending from small black business owners, a curated photo booth, a VIP lounge and more activations which added immersive experience that blended music, tech and community to create a unique and inclusive atmosphere. 


AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 04: Saweetie performs at the 2023 AfroTech Conference Music Stage on November 04, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for AfroTech)


AfroTech was a celebration of black excellence in tech, a platform for empowerment and inspiration, and a catalyst for change and innovation. It was an unforgettable experience that left a lasting impact on the attendees, the speakers, the sponsors, and the community. AfroTech 2023 was the ultimate event for the Black tech community to celebrate, connect, and learn from each other. Whether you are a student, a professional, an entrepreneur, or an enthusiast, you will find something that suits your interests and goals. Don’t miss this opportunity to join the AfroTech movement and be part of the future of tech. Be ready for AfroTech 2024!


About AfroTech

AFROTECH™ is the largest series of multicultural tech experiences in the United States. It is a conference that brings together engineers, venture capitalists, recruiters, technologists, and culture enthusiasts from all over the world. The conference was founded in 2016 by Blavity, Inc. It is the definitive conference that brings leaders in technology and business together to exchange ideas and build a strong Black tech community.  






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