When Josh and I founded Bubble in 2012, we wanted to lower the technical barriers to creating technology and empower anyone to build great software, launch products, and start companies. We felt it was unacceptable that only a very minor part of the world population, because of their educational background or connection to sources of capital, could get their ideas off the ground. We saw a fantastic opportunity to enable people from more diverse backgrounds to build things online and thus bring their own approaches to solving problems through technology.
In 2020, Bubble has helped hundreds of thousands of people launch their own businesses and startups efficiently and affordably. Our users have built new marketplaces, collaboration platforms for remote work, solar panel financing platforms and even a Twitter clone to prove the power of no-code tools.
Along the way, we’ve added 30 amazing people to Bubble’s team, all passionate about expanding access to technology. Our product, success and growth team members all work together to make sure you can get the tools you need to make your vision a reality.
Today, we’re launching the next step in this journey by building out our diversity & inclusion initiative for our users and the broader ecosystem. We think Bubble is uniquely positioned to help bring more people from underprivileged backgrounds into the tech world, and are excited to be taking this next step in the journey to build a radically inclusive platform.
The Founder Inclusion Initiative
We are building out a new function in the Bubble team to drive inclusion-based growth in our users and community. The goals of our founder inclusion effort are to:
- Amplify the voices of Bubble entrepreneurs and start-up founders from underrepresented backgrounds, in particular through our content channels and creative initiatives
- Equip underrepresented Bubblers with the tools & community to overcome obstacles unique to their experience
- Partner with the diverse entrepreneur ecosystem to support BIPOC and women's entrepreneurship
- Sponsor initiatives to give back to underprivileged communities (including potential scholarships for bootcamps, credits, etc.)
To lead this effort, we needed someone who was intimately familiar with both the nuances of the tech ecosystem and the challenges of navigating it as an underrepresented minority. Someone who is as entrepreneurial as our users are and as dedicated to lowering systemic barriers as we are. So we are fortunate to have Yaw Owusu-Boahen on board, spearheading our Founder Inclusion Initiative.
Yaw has dedicated himself to lowering barriers for BIPOC to thrive in consulting and tech, graduating from Princeton University where he studied race & public policy. At Bain & Company, he helped spearhead diversity & inclusion efforts internally in addition to working on consulting projects. After consulting, Yaw joined the first NYC Antler cohort where he co-founded LMNS - a platform to lower systemic barriers in hiring for digital marketers. He’s excited to join us as we take our first steps to support underrepresented founders, starting with the Black tech community.
What Diversity & Inclusion Means For You & Bubble
Our Bubble community has grown through the years into something special - 500,000 people all committed to helping each other succeed, through our forum and social channels, with more than 200 posts every day. Your dedication to each other has inspired us to build the Bubble Academy to formalize training on how to use the platform, making it even easier for those who want to get started.
But as we talked to our users and learned about your experiences getting your products off the ground, we noticed that some of you face unique challenges that hinder you from building your companies, especially among underrepresented minority groups, and in particular in the Black community.
The data support this. Building a tech product can be expensive, leading most founders to seek outside capital. However, despite representing 13% of the US population, Black founders receive less than 1% of venture capital investment. Because of this, many are forced to seek out alternative funding sources like bank loans which often reject or feature exploitative terms against BIPOC. Other underrepresented groups face similar barriers. A few years ago, there was some discussion about female-founded companies raising a shockingly low 2% of total VC funding. The barriers are even higher for women of color. Despite making up 17% of the US women’s population, only 2% of women-led startups have Latinx women founders.
These challenges are not new, but every day that passes without change makes them even more unbearable. While we cannot change these structural problems by ourselves, we are committed to being a part of the solution. Bubble is uniquely positioned to help decrease the barrier to create and launch new products. We’ve seen Bubble entrepreneurs like Qoins founder Nate Washington use Bubble to build their product in weeks, scaling their customer bases and converting revenue, allowing them to eventually fundraise or hire employees themselves with their generated cash. Bubble is what enabled them to launch their entrepreneurial endeavor successfully, and we want to push this even further.
The road ahead of us is long. The issue of representation in tech and entrepreneurship has been around for decades, and it takes more than just one company to make a difference. But even with a few efforts starting today, we believe we can move the needle. Over the next few months, we will be creating content and programming in partnership with the diverse entrepreneur ecosystem. This is not something we’ll fix alone, and we hope we can get your support and help along the way.
If you want to be involved, or want to suggest an initiative that would help your community, please reach out to Yaw.
Since we started Bubble, we’ve tackled some exciting problems: how to make web development easier and more visual, how to save time and engineering resources, and how to build a digital startup without code. But today feels different. We have the opportunity to leverage these years of hard work to tackle one of the biggest issues America (and the world) faces: how to ensure our society benefits and serves the underrepresented. Let’s get started!
– Emmanuel Straschnov, Bubble Founder and Co-CEO