Good Byte Ventures' Tech Forward podcast invites our listeners and guests to examine the role of diversity and inclusion in the technology and media industries in the US and beyond. Tune in each week to hear minority and female entrepreneurs, industry executives, venture capitalists, and diversity champions share their personal and professional stories. Tech Forward's interactive platform encourages participants to assess existing barriers and examine potential solutions needed to improve gender and racial/ethnic diversity within the sector.

Recent Episodes

Episode 12: Diversifying Tech By Teaching Mothers How To Code

This week, I spoke with Tina Lee, Founder and CEO of MotherCoders. Based in San Francisco, MotherCoders is a non-profit that’s expanding the tech talent pool by helping women with kids gain the skills, knowledge, and connections they need to thrive in today’s digital economy. Tina’s career journey has taken her from management consulting and recruiting roles in the private sector, to philanthropy and nonprofit roles in the public sector. She’s passionate and prolific about the digital economy, especially the changing needs of women and families in a digital, globalized world. We discussed how MotherCoders came to be, and how Tina is helping moms of all types launch their tech careers.

Episode 11: Closing the Wealth Gap For Underrepresented Founders

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward. This week I spoke with Allie Burns, Managing Director at Village Capital. This global venture capital firm wants to build bridges for entrepreneurs looking to create an inclusive and sustainable world.  Having worked with Revolution, the Case Foundation, AOL, Atlas Venture and more, Allie honed over the years a passion for working with young and emerging technologies. We discussed Village Capital’s unique model and goal to broaden access to capital worldwide, and to close the wealth gap for founders from underrepresented backgrounds. Tune in to hear more about how they are reinventing the venture capital system!

Episode 10: Using Technology to Eliminate Hiring Bias

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! This week I spoke with Stephanie Lampkin, founder and CEO of Blendoor, technology that mitigates unconscious bias in hiring through artificial intelligence and people analytics. During Stephanie’s 14-year career in the tech industry, she has founded two startups and held technical roles at Lockheed, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor.  In this episode, I speak with Stephanie about the inspiration and story behind her founding of Blendoor and how she’s using data to increase transparency about diversity across the sector.  Tune in to hear her story!

Episode 9: Creating a Community to Support Women in Tech

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week I spoke with Hayley Leibson, founder of the award-winning technology and lifestyle blog, Lady in Tech. Through Lady in Tech, Hayley is dedicated to inspiring women to become technologists and entrepreneurs, and to create a life that they love. Hear Hayley share how, from its first iteration as a Medium blog, Lady in Tech grew rapidly, gaining over 25 thousand followers in a year. As an empathetic technologist and inclusion advocate, Hayley also contributes to Forbes; her column moves millennial women to enter the tech industry and build important products at scale to improve the world.  

Episode 8: Democratizing Startup Investment Through Equity Crowdfunding

Welcome back to another episode of Tech Forward, listeners! This week I spoke with Caroline Hofmann, COO and Co-Founder of equity crowdfunding platform Republic. In her role as Chief Operating Officer, Caroline manages the company’s multi-faceted operation and its fast-growing team.  We spent our time talking about how Republic is opening up startup investing to a wider range of investors and how they’ve brought on a diverse set of founders onto their platform.  During our conversation, Caroline also spoke about the transition from consulting to the world of tech, the rewarding balancing act of life as a working mother, and navigating the regulations involved in equity crowdfunding.  Listen in to hear more!

Episode 7: Opening Doors in Tech for the Autistic Community

Hello listeners! This week, I spoke with Oliver Thornton, CEO of Coding Autism. At Coding Autism, an autism-specialized coding bootcamp, autistic adults learn the necessary skills to obtain employment within the tech industry.  For Oliver, this is a very personal endeavor. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of two, Oliver worked hard to overcome many of the challenges associated with life on the spectrum.  The major goal of Coding Autism is to reduce the high unemployment rate within the autism community. Autistic adults have an 80% unemployment and underemployment rate, regardless of academic credentials, intellectual capabilities, and skill sets. Learning about these trends was Oliver’s primary motivation to develop the startup concept behind Coding Autism.  Tune into the episode to hear more!

Episode 6: Creating a Sustainable Fashion Business With a Diverse Team Right From the Start

Hello listeners, and welcome back to Tech Forward! This week, I spoke with Janet Wu, co-founder and CEO of SilkRoll, about sustainability in the fashion industry as well as the importance of building diverse teams from day one.  An avid traveler, Janet was born in China, grew up in the UK, and currently lives in the Bay Area. During her 10 years as an investment banker, she helped over 50 publicly listed companies raise over $30B in financing. She then went on to serve as the CFO of clean tech startup One Earth Designs before founding SilkRoll.  Though her team is presently still small, Janet made a point to hire people with different employment backgrounds and perspectives.  Listen in to hear her story!

Episode 5: Funding Immigrant Founders and Investing in Innovation

Hello listeners, and welcome back to the Tech Forward podcast! This week, I spoke with Maria Salamanca, a venture capitalist at Unshackled Ventures. She was named 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital. Unshackled Ventures fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by funding teams with immigrant founders.  Maria’s own journey — she immigrated from Colombia at age 7 and became a citizen at 18 — has motivated her to uplift others by eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship. Listen in as we discuss these challenges and how Unshackled Ventures helps immigrant founders overcome them.

Episode 4: Can Coding Bootcamps Help Solve Tech’s Diversity Problem?

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to the Tech Forward podcast. This week, I’m sharing my conversation with Dr. Herman Pryor, Jr. He currently serves as a District Lead within the Career Services Division for Coding Dojo’s Washington, DC campus. There, he enjoys the process of developing others through solution-focused coaching methods.  In this episode, Herman shares Coding Dojo’s approach to attracting a diverse student body and how they prepare students for tech careers post graduation.  

Episode 3: How a Network Model of Venture Capital Can Allow For More Inclusive Investing

Hear from Lisa Cuesta, Principal at NextGen Venture Partners.  An early-stage venture capital firm, NextGen’s goal is to bring a service mentality to venture.  NextGen is made up of a core group of seasoned VCs along with a network of hundreds of part-time Venture Partners that drive the growth of portfolio companies.  Our conversation focused on the barriers that female and minority founders face when fundraising, as well as different methods to make VC funding more widely accessible. Lisa had a lot of great insights to share about how to open the doors to more diverse groups of founders.  Listen in to find out more!

Episode 2: Overcoming Barriers to Funding through Passion and Perseverance

This episode of Tech Forward features Martha Hernandez, founder and CEO of madeBos.  From a long career in talent acquisition and talent management, Martha is passionate about adding transparency in the talent selection and promotion process, access to opportunity, diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.  MadeBOS grew from Martha’s passion for shaping people’s professional growth and development, no matter their starting point or current trajectory.  In this episode, we discuss the barriers that Latina and other women of color entrepreneurs face in getting access to funding and other support for their businesses. What specific challenges and fears did Martha face along the way, and how did she overcome them? Listen along and find out!

Episode 1: Why Has Diversity Progress Been Slow at the Tech Giants?

The inaugural episode of Tech Forward features Courtney Bass, an HR Business Partner at Google, who coaches and advises leaders on team management and motivation.  As an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, Courtney has spent her career developing and implementing strategies that both individuals and teams can leverage for meaningful collaboration and growth.  In this episode, we examine why diversity progress has been so slow at many of the larger tech companies. At Google, diversity numbers are still well below representative, though they have improved over the years. Why has it been challenging for Google and other tech giants to establish a more diverse employee base?

Episode 0: Announcing Tech Forward

The discussion about diversity and unequal opportunity in the tech world has been going on for a long time now.  But, clearly this conversation needs to continue.  That’s why we decided to start the Tech Forward podcast.  Every week, our host, Cheryl Chotrani, will interview entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, media and tech leaders, and diversity advocates.  Save the date and subscribe to the podcast when we launch on March 14.