Barry Givens' experience founding Monsieur, a robotic mixologist, inspired him to uplift other Black tech founders as co-founder and managing partner of Collab Capital.
Barry Givens was still an engineering student at Georgia Tech when his serial entrepreneur journey began with a custom sneaker company, Slushie Kicks. In 2013, Givens launched Monsieur, a startup that streamlined bartending with a tech twist at the Techcrunch Disrupt Battlefield. He won the Technology Association of GA Business Launch competition, successfully raised $4 million and revolutionized drink mixing at venues like major sports arenas and cinema chains before exiting the company in 2017. As a co-founder and managing partner of the Collab Capital investment fund, Givens provides a supportive network, mentorship, and funding to overcome the challenges that historically prevent other Black startups from thriving. Givens and Collab co-founders Jewel Burks Solomon and Justin Dawkins (who are both honorees on this year's list) agreed that challenges disproportionately affecting Black founders required an unapologetically Black solution. "Going through this journey, even if you look at funds who have Black managing partners or funds that focus on diversity or marginalized people, Black founders still tend to be marginalized within the marginalized," Givens told Afrotech. After reaching its goal of raising $50 million in capital earlier this year, Collab is more than ready for the challenge. While pledging solidarity to Black communities became popular for major tech companies after last year's racial reckoning, Givens and Collab are focused on the impactful longevity for Black entrepreneurs.