Angela Benton

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Angela Benton
Born (1981-05-22) May 22, 1981 (age 33)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Occupation CEO of NewME Accelerator
Children 3[1]

Angela Benton (born (1981-05-22)May 22, 1981) is the [2] Founder & CEO of NewME Accelerator.[3] She has been recognized as a change agent and one of the Internet industries influencers by numerous publications and outlets. NewME has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs launch businesses and raise funding from investors, most notably several companies from their equity portfolio have raised over $16MM in funding since it’s launch in 2011. Under NewME she publishes B20[4] (formerly Black Web 2.0) the premier online publication for African-Americans interested in Technology and New Media. Additionally, Angela and the NewME Accelerator were featured in CNN’s award winning documentary series Black in America: The New Promised Land: Silicon Valley in 2011.[5]

Early life[edit]

Benton was born in Chicago, Ill. But spent most of her childhood growing up outside of Washington DC in Northern Virginia. She had her first child at 16 while attending Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, VA.[1] Both resilient and determined Benton graduated high school in 3 years and went on to attend several colleges, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2004. As a young, single mother, Benton made her own way into the world of design and coding in digital media, working in a number of capacities for the web giant, IAC. But Benton found her true calling when she launched Black Web 2.0, which filled a true gap in becoming a vital nexus for African-American professionals and aspirants in the digital space.

Early Career and Education[edit]

Benton’s experience spans a variety of industries and roles. She has worked at several IAC businesses including RealEstate.com, LendingTree.com, and RushmoreDrive.com. Additionally she has held roles at Bizjournals.com, UPS, and Homes of Color Magazine. Throughout her career she has worked in a variety of roles in design, marketing, development, and digital strategy.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude[6] with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design. She has also completed postgraduate coursework in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.[6]

Black Web 2.0[edit]

Benton launched Black Web 2.0 in August 2007. It's said that the site was launched out of her frustration to find information on what Blacks were doing in technology both from an entrepreneurial/startup and corporate perspective. The site quickly gain community amongst Black digerati and early adopters, giving them a place to be heard and featured. Markus Robinson, a partner in the site and its COO until 2010, was a key figure in growing the platform. In the early days of Black Web 2.0 Benton served as the editor and main writer for the site, along with Robinson, and used the platform to feature and discuss key topics in Black Culture, technology, and where the two intersected. The duo often critiqued products and the digital strategies of African-American media businesses and forecasted trends in the arena, as such they quickly became the leading experts in the space.

In late 2010 Markus Robinson went on to become a technology executive at Interactive One (Radio One) though still remains involved with the site. In 2013 NewME Accelerator acquired Black Web 2.0 and rebranded the site as B20. The new direction of the site is more inspirational than previous versions, curating up and coming innovators/entrepreneurs and profiling their businesses, life, and backgrounds. Benton's role in the site has transitioned from Editor to CEO of the company that owns the site.

NewME & NewME Accelerator[edit]

In May 2010 Benton held a private summit called NewME Conference in Washington DC.[7] The day and a half program included Black and Latino entrepreneurs, private equity investors, and top government officials like FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.[8] The event, similar to a think tank, focused on gathering information from its attendees on how to make minority tech entrepreneurs more successful.

In November 2010 Benton traveled to Silicon Valley on an invitation from Google to speak to the company's Black Googler Network (BGN). During the trip she held an informal meet-up called NewME Meetup[9][10] in the heart of the startup world, Palo Alto. Benton's work with the NewME Conference was a key ingredient to launching the NewME Accelerator.

In early 2011 Benton and Wayne Sutton collaborated to launch the first technology incubator (accelerator) for minorities, NewME Accelerator. The pair worked on the first iteration of the program for 3 months and launched the program that helped 10 minority technology founders (8 of which traveled from across the country and lived in a home together during the program), primarily Black at the time, in June 2011. Uniquely, both Benton and Sutton embedded themselves into the program while also working on startup ideas of their own (Cued[11] and Vouch[12]) and running the accelerator. The program lasted 9 weeks and was both pivotal and groundbreaking on several fronts.

The first year of the program was a success connecting participating Founders with a Silicon Valley network, over half a million dollars in funding,[13] and notoriety from leading publications (mainstream and industry trades)[14] like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, TechCrunch, and CNN. Key figures that participated in the program as mentors, speakers, or supporters are: Mitch Kapor, Tristan Walker, Vivek Wadhwa, Navarrow Wright, Google, Twitter, Facebook et al.

In 2012 Sutton moved on to work on other projects in the technology industry and NewME Accelerator was rebranded as NewME, which includes a variety of projects Benton works on to change the face of entrepreneurship in the technology industry. In 2013 NewME acquired B20, formerly Black Web 2.0, and launched a virtual version of the 12-week residential program called NewME VR. NewME has helped over 300 entrepreneurs in more than 5 countries, additionally it’s equity portfolio of companies have raised over $16MM since their launch in 2011.

CNN's Black in America & Silicon Valley's Race Problem[edit]

The NewME Accelerator's inaugural class was featured on CNN's fourth installment of Black in America reported by award winning journalist Soledad O'Brien. Benton was featured as one of the primary subjects in the documentary. The documentary, whose focus was on chronicling the stories of 8 NewME Accelerator participants that traveled to Silicon Valley to work on their startups, catapulted the NewME Accelerator to a national stage and sparked a heated industry debate on the lack of minorities in technology.[15] At the height of the debate tech maven Michael Arrington, known for off color comments, became a target for out lash on the topic.

Influence & Accomplishments[edit]

Rankings Fast Company named Benton one of their Most Influential Women in Technology in 2010. Additionally, she has been included in Ebony’s annual Power 150 list since its December 2010/January 2011 issue. In 2010 she was rank # on TheRoot100, an annual list of influential African-American's published by TheRoot.com who is owned by The Washington Post. In 2011 she was ranked # on that same list. In 2012, The Grio (founded by NBC News) published its list of African-American change makers, The Grio 100, and Benton was ranked # on that list. In February 2012 Benton was listed as 40 Women of Power under 40 by Black Enterprise Magazine. Business Insider named her as one of the "25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology[16]".

Awards & Hall of Fame Benton was inducted into Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) Hall of Fame in 2010. She was 29 at the time of her induction and is the youngest to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Other notable individuals in MMTC's Hall of Fame include Bob Johnson, Cathy Hughs, etc.

In 2010 Benton was a Woman of Power honoree by the National Urban League at their centinnel conference in Washington DC. Other honorees included Laila Ali, Angela Bassett, etc.

Goldman Sachs recently (2013) named her one of the "100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs."

Other[edit]

In August 2011 Black Enterprise featured Benton on their cover for the work she is doing with the NewME Accelerator.

References[edit]

External links[edit]