On April 21, 2022, The Hidden Genius Project hosted its 2nd Annual Genius Founders Showcase event featuring the 2021-2022 cohort of the Alumni Venture Seed Fund program. Throughout the event, these five passionate alumni entrepreneurs pitched their dynamic and inspirational business ventures in front of friends, families, connections, and investors. They also shared how much they learned in this 19-week startup program as it focused on strengthening their knowledge about the five phases of developing a new business. Check out some of the highlights below.
Listen to Ndene Diallo, Founder of Twistys, and Jayden Cummings, Founder of iBlinkcoshare the inspiration behind their business ideas and their overall experience in our Alumni Venture Seed Fund program with Theo Williams, Senior Portfolio Development Manager, Salesforce Ventures.
Check out this panel to learn more about Ian Bundy-Weiss, Founder of MyDrip, Desmond Paré, Founder of WeShare, and Kevin Butler, Founder of TechZen Collective experience in this program and their business ventures with Scott Hanselman, Partner Program Manager, Microsoft.
From November 2021 to April 2022, our 5-month Alumni Venture Seed Fund program has provided each Genius Founder with:
MEET OUR 2021-2022 GENIUS FOUNDERS
Jayden Cummings, RICH2 Hidden Genius Alum
At an early age, Oakland native Jayden Cummings always dreamed of starting his own venture which could improve his life and others. During his time in our Intensive Immersion Program, Jayden created iBlinkco, a social media management platform that helps small businesses grow their presence on social media. In 2019, Jayden won the prestigious Congressional App Challenge award in Representative Barbara Lee’s district (District 13) for his iBlinkco app.
Now 18 year-old Jayden is a freshman at San Francisco State University majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Business Administration and plans on using his degree to improve his entrepreneurial and technical skills to support his ambitious aspirations.
Connect with Jayden on Linkedin HERE.
Ndene Diallo, OAK5 Hidden Genius Alum
Ndene Diallo, a 20 year-old educator, front-end developer, and entrepreneur from Oakland, CA, discovered his love for technology while being the go-to technical expert and problem-solver in his family. This passion inspired Ndene to pursue a career in technology and he is currently attending Diablo Valley College as a Computer Science major with plans to transfer to a 4-year university.
Growing up, Ndene watched his mom use her signature Senegalese braiding skills as a stylist to help provide for the family. He noticed how his mom spent considerable time growing her clientele through various outreach methods, which to Ndene, seemed inefficient. This drove Ndene to develop Twisty, a platform designed to connect stylists with customers who are seeking specific hair styles.
Connect with Ndene on Linkedin HERE.
Kevin Butler, OAK4 Hidden Genius Alum
Kevin Butler is CEO of TechZen Collective, a Black-Owned Art NFT marketplace where artists can transform their work into high-value NFTs, display their collection in a portfolio, and sell their work to their fans. Kevin is from Oakland, CA, and currently attends Laney College with plans to transfer to a 4-year university to get his Bachelors in Computer Science.
After completing our Intensive Immersion Program in 2016, Kevin continues to support The Hidden Genius Project by teaching basic computer science skills to current Geniuses as a Genius Fellow Educator. Kevin is deeply passionate about giving back to his community and aspires to create innovative ways to support the next generation of young people.
Connect with Kevin on Linkedin HERE.
Ian Bundy-Weiss, OAK5 Hidden Genius Alum
Ian Bundy-Weiss is a 19 year-old junior majoring in Computer Science at California State University Long Beach. Upon graduation, Ian will pursue a Software Engineering job in web development and dreams of someday owning his own technology company.
During his time in our Intensive Immersion Program, Ian was motivated by his passion for technology and entrepreneurship and created Hype Chat, which is a platform where users can share and exchange clothing.
Connect with Ian on Linkedin HERE.
Desmond Paré, OAK3 Hidden Genius Alum
Born and raised in East Oakland, CA, Desmond Paré is a third-year student at Fisk University pursuing a degree in Computer Science. After graduating, Desmond intends to work as a Software Engineer while pursuing his Masters Degree in Computer Science. Programming is Desmond’s passion and he intends to continue educating young people of color about the benefits of learning how to code.
Inspired to help young people create wealth, Desmond has started to develop a web application called WeShare that tracks the stock market. The application will allow users to monitor and add specific stocks to a watchlist where basic information such as the current share price will be displayed.
Connect with Desmond on Linkedin HERE.
INAUGURAL GENIUS FOUNDER SHOWCASE
On April 22, 2021, we hosted our first-ever Genius Founders Showcase event, celebrating our inaugural cohort (2020-2021) of young entrepreneurs in our Alumni Venture Seed Fund program.
FOUNDING PROGRAM ARCHITECTS
Investor, Salesforce Ventures
Jackson Georges Jr.
Vice President, Capital G
Sr. Product Manager, Marketplace Trust & Privacy Engineering, Uber
Chief Marketing Officer, Chefling Inc.
Strategy & Operations Analyst, Deloitte
Keenan D. Williams
Co-Founder, President & Head of Partnerships, Rezi
Site Reliability Engineer, Cisco
Simone A. White
VP of Business Development & Client Services, Blavity Inc.
Founder & CEO, Stealth Startup
Princess K. Allen
Founder & CEO, Allspring
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, BlueCrew
Corporate Associate, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Principle, Pivot Development Group
Foudner & CEO, Derisk.vc
Senior Associate, Base Ventures
Partner, Concrete Rose Capital
Allison Baum Gates
General Partner, SemperVirens Venture Capital
Senior Manager, Portfolio Development
Daniel Jhin Yoo
Janine O’ Neill
Director, Talent, Sequoia Capital
Administrative Business Partner, Capital G
Barbara G. Robinson
Director, Client Contracting
University Recruiter, GoDaddy
Director of Engineering, Learn In
VP Platform Growth, Wirewax
Co-Founder & CMO, Tanoshi
Managing Director, Base Ventures
Software Engineering Lead, Dropbox
Sr. Software Engineering, Cypher LLC.
Director, Strategy Program Integration, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Designer, Jordan Brand Global, Nike
Alphonso Sensley II
VP – iOS Software Engineer II, Bank of America
Attorney, Start Art Legal
Founder, Bootstrap Thinking
Founder & CEO, OneChronos
Counsel, Perkins Coie LLP
Partner Program Manager, Microsoft
Head of Events, Salesforce Ventures
Brandon J. Middleton-Pratt
Attorney, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati