Closing Access To Capital Gap for Tech Startups
The wealth gap between blacks and whites in America has risen to record highs. The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from 2010.
As a result of these declines, the typical black household had just $4,955 in wealth (assets minus debts) in 2010, the typical Hispanic household had $7,424 in wealth and the typical white household had $110,729.
Moreover, about a third of black (35%) and Hispanic (31%) households had zero or negative net worth in 2009, compared with 15% of white households. In 2005, the comparable shares had been 29% for blacks, 23% for Hispanics and 11% for whites.
Deirdra Burgess, also known as Dee, has an MBA from the University of Utah, plus degrees in Finance and in Management and Organizational Leadership. She currently resides in Salt Lake City, UT.
Deirdra is an experienced entrepreneur with numerous startups in her portfolio. She was the first Controller at Skullcandy, and has 25 years of experience helping many other startups with organizing their operations and accounting systems. Her expertise in knowing what startups must have in place in order to obtain funding invaluable.
Angel Investor & VC Board Member
Judy Robinett is the author of How to Be a Power Connector, to be released by McGraw-Hill in May, 2014. Judy is a business thought leader who is known as “the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex.”
Natalia Oberti Noguera
Founder & CEO
Author & Creator
Rodney Sampson is a social innovator, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, published author, and consecrated bishop. Via his Episcopal affiliations with the Old Holy Catholic Church (International Bishops Conference) and Kingdom Manifestation, Sampson shapes innovative economic policy and opportunities throughout society and culture. As a serial entrepreneur, Sampson co-founded Multicast Media Networks (Streamingfaith.com) in 2000 (sold in 2010), a live and on-demand streaming platform that laid the foundation for companies like YouTube and Ustream. Not stopping there, Sampson co-founded Intellectual Currency (an integrated marketing and business development firm) in 2002, Intellect Inspire (a digital publishing imprint of Audible) in 2006, and Legacy Opportunity Fund in 2007 with private equity investments in technology, the social graph and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He also serves on the boards of a learning company (a publishing imprint of Pearson Education), a New York-based merchant investment bank, a trucking and logistics company and a community development corporation (CDC).
Sampson is passionate about reducing our nation’s poverty and wealth gap by advancing the cause of entrepreneurship, investment and Crowdfunding as a way of life for all communities. To advance this definitive cause, he serves as Executive-In-Charge of Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at One Three Media, a joint venture between Mark Burnett Productions and Hearst. One Three executive produces The Voice, Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, ABC’s Shark Tank, Richard Branson’s “Space Race”, The Bible Series & Son of God. He is also the Founder of opportunity.UP // unleashing private equity, the nation’s leading learning and certification platform learning for minorities and under-served communities to learn, navigate and master the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem. opportunity.UP conferences attract over 1,000 entrepreneurs, 500 teenagers and 100 accredited investors and mentors. On the ground, he is the co-founder of the opportunity.HUB, an entrepreneurial eco-work space, knowledge repository and alternative-funding space located at 200 Peachtree in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. opportunity.HUB is home to opportunity.VENTURES, a new seed and early stage fund focused on making investments in technology and consumer goods companies that impact culture.
Sampson is also an advocate and respected expert on the JOBS Act (debt and equity based crowdfunding) and State of Georgia’s “Invest Georgia Exemption” legislation. Always meditating, thinking, networking and connecting to disrupt economic culture, Sampson is innovating what he has branded as an ”ecosystem funding platform” designed to integrate the capital markets of the African American owned banks, churches, business associations and historical black colleges and universities. The platform will allow underserved and under-represented communities to learn, engage and invest in the investment ecosystem by providing access to relevant investment opportunities traditionally reserved for accredited and institutional investors. The long-term outcome will result in job creation, wealth creation and a better society for all.
Vetted with intuitive and experiential wisdom, Sampson is regularly called upon to advise and speak to nations, businesses, universities, and bishops who employ thousands and lead millions of constituents and communities around the world. Sampson’s published works include Kingonomics: Twelve Innovative “Currencies” for Transforming Your Business and Your Life, Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Your Manifest Destiny: 7.5 Words to Transform Your Future; Yes We Will: Solutions for Realizing Your Personal Power in an Obama Era; and Black Trillions: Introducing Symbiotic Economics. His audio works include Any Day Now: Genesis of Divine Manifestation and Your Manifest Destiny: 15 Audio Meditations to Transform Your Future.
Sampson earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tulane University in 1995 and a Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management in 2001. He also studied in the Doctorate of Medicine program at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine from 1995 to 1999. For his dedication and commitment to definitive social causes at such a young age, Sampson received an honorary Doctorate of Ministry from the I.G.F. Theological Seminary in 1998.
A strong believer in global reinvestment, Sampson has been a friend of Africa. He has worked closely with the republics of Namibia, Gabon, and Uganda in the areas of trade and development, business development, leadership development, and public affairs. For his contributions to humanity, Sampson was awarded the Phoenix Award—the City of Atlanta’s highest honor—by Mayor Shirley Franklin in 2004. In direct support of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sampson, his wife, and a group of influencers in 2007 donated more than $50,000 to the King Papers Project, a capital campaign established to ensure that Dr. King’s papers would remain in the city of Atlanta at Morehouse College for generations to come.
Sampson and his wife reside in Atlanta, their native home, with their children.