On March 8 and 9, SXSW, also known as South by Southwest—the popular interactive, music and film conference held every year in Austin, Texas—featured a pitch competition for tech start-ups. The prestigious competition allows the burgeoning firms to gain further exposure. We’ve highlighted four start-ups with co-founders who are of African descent.

1. Ricardo Rodriguez, Qlovi

Rodriguez is co-founder and chief technology officer of Qlovi, which produces a literacy tool that offers personalized e-reading and writing in classrooms.

2. Connor Dickie, Synbiota


Dickie is co-founder and CEO of Synbiota, creator of an open-source DNA-design app that allows developers working in synthetic biology to design, share and manage their projects.

3. Benjamin Cooper, Sensible Baby


Cooper is co-founder of Sensible Baby, whose system allows parents to monitor their infant’s position, temperature and movement on a smartphone or tablet through a wearable sensor.

4. Maci Peterson, On Second Thought


Peterson is co-founder of On Second Thought, a messaging app that allows users to unsend text messages. Peterson is also The Root's marketing strategist.

Diamond Sharp is an editorial fellow at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.