At KiwiTech, we take pride in building an ecosystem that removes barriers for all and celebrates innovations of every entrepreneur regardless of their color, race, and orientation. The Black Entrepreneurs Matter (BEM) Demo Day Series is a part of our commitment to encourage and empower underrepresented African-American founders and help them close the funding gap.
Anita C Roberts, Managing Director of Silicon Hills Capital invests in women & minority founders seeking pre-seed to seed-level financing. Anita is a PR/Marketing executive who has been featured in several business publications like Forbes, Fortune and the Business Journals; she was named to Forbes 50 over 50 women in investment list, and founded black business journal.com the top 3 Black business website in the US and continues to help black businesses with marketing strategies.
Anita is a serial entrepreneur with 2 exits and raised a quarter of a million dollars during Covid and provided micro grants to more than 150 Black and women business owners. She is also a retired Lieutenant colonel and combat veteran who is on a mission to help fellow veterans start, grow and/or scale their business.
Leigh Harris is a Venture Fellow at The Artemis Fund, a leading VC firm focused on investing in iconic female founders. With a background in finance and a passion for diversity, Leigh plays a pivotal role in identifying high-potential startups and supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs. Her dedication to driving positive change and fostering innovation is reshaping the startup ecosystem.
SAAFIR RABB II is a community leader, entrepreneur, and creative driving force in domestic and international service initiatives. Beginning the first ten years of his career as assistant to Imam WD Mohammed, he honed keen sensitivity for inclusion and value for the perspectives of all relevant stakeholders. He is known to derive impactful outcomes by utilizing a structured rationale to clarify vision, manage expectations and negotiate win-win solutions. Culturally competent and a good communicator, his efforts draw upon his extensive network to achieve socially impactful sustainable results.
Currently, Mr. Rabb serves as CEO of 1RACE, Inc., a real estate services firm with offices in Los Angeles and
Maryland and focused on opportunistic and value-add development, asset management and ESG oriented real
estate projects. Previously, he co-founded and served as the CEO of Interculture where he provided international
corporate strategy services touching a wide range of activities including social development projects, philanthropic
investment advisory, relationship management, media sports and entertainment advisory and economic
development projects. He also used the power of the firm’s resources and access to better advise faith initiatives
that intersect with business, sports and entertainment, popular culture influencers and efforts that drive the next
generation of investment in media and content creation.
Ike Syed, works at KiwiTech as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, where he leads the Enterprise and SaaS engagements within the startup community. Before KiwiTech, Ike served at the U.S. Department of State, where he advised the senior leadership on economic impacts of foreign investments, digital economy and emerging technologies. In that role, Ike liaised closely with other government/international entities (such as the National Security Council, the Departments of Defense and Commerce, other Executive Branch departments, etc.) and the private sector.
Prior to entering public service, Ike worked as a Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Connectloud, a next-generation Cloud Computing company. Previously, he was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman and a finance executive at Fidelity Investments, where he advised corporate leaders globally on critical strategic and business issues. As an experienced veteran of the ICT industry, Ike has led product development and technical research initiatives at Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley and Lucent Technologies/Bell Laboratories in the past.
In 2012, Ike was selected to be part of Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Future Leaders program. From 2005 to 2007, he served on the executive committee of the MIT-Stanford Venture Lab, a Silicon Valley non-profit organization dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and private investors. Ike received his BASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo in Canada and a MS in Computer Science from Boston University. A licensed Professional Engineer, he obtained his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.