Featured Speaker – Monique Woodard, Venture Capital Investor
Monique Woodard is a venture capital investor at the intersection of technology and newly powerful consumer groups. She believes that shifting demographics will create the next big emerging market ‒ right here in the United States.
Her investments include Blavity, Win-Win, O.School, Mented, Silvernest and many others.
Previously, as Venture Partner at 500 Startups, she invested in pre-seed and seed stage companies across several sectors, including consumer internet and government technology. She also opened up 500’s investing in sub-Saharan Africa and led a group of investors, tech executives, and founders on an exploration of Africa’s most thriving startup ecosystems during Geeks on a Plane: Africa.
Before moving onto the investor side of the table, Monique spent 15+ years in entrepreneur and operating roles across consumer internet (ecommerce, video-on-demand, media) and government technology.
Monique is also the co-founder of Black Founders — a organization started by four tech friends in a San Francisco restaurant over shrimp and grits and jazz music. Their hackathons at historically black colleges and universities and workshops and conferences for founders are designed to move entrepreneurs from idea to execution. With a mission to increase the number of successful black entrepreneurs in tech, the organization has cultivated a new generation of tech founders from Silicon Valley to New York City, Atlanta, Austin, and several HBCU campuses.
Monique served as one of the first Innovation Fellows for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office where she worked on the many ways that a city at the epicenter of innovation can use technology to transform workforce and other government services. During her fellowship term, she wrote the resolution on broadband and unlicensed spectrum which was adopted at the US Conference of Mayors and contributed to the City’s early strategy around municipal internet access.
Monique was an entrepreneur before entrepreneurship was the new normal. She has built things big and small, including Speak Chic – a mobile app that teaches you how to correctly pronounce fashion brands. Speak Chic gained a loyal fashion-insider following and was featured in Harper’s Bazaar UK, Cosmopolitan, Essence, and InStyle.
Monique has been an advisor to private companies and technology-focused organizations including Women 2.0, Hackers/Founders, and Startup Policy Lab. She regularly speaks, writes, and advises in the areas of consumer technology, emerging demographics, and diversity. She has been interviewed around entrepreneurship and investing for USA Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Buzzfeed, NPR, TheRoot, and Essence Magazine.
You can find out more at monique.vc and follow her on Twitter @moniquewoodard.