KaJ Labs Founder, Joel Kasr, knows firsthand the inherent challenges faced by African-Americans trying to secure startup funding and resources needed to grow their companies. He’s helping to change that paradigm by awarding $50 million over the next 10 years to African-American non-profits. The company is also offering free resources such as hosting and development services to African-American tech startups.
“The events unfolding across the country that are rooted in hate are contradictory with our beliefs as a company,” said Kasr. “As the founder of KaJ Labs, I am optimistic that change will occur in the tech industry and I am willing and able to do my part.
“Today, KaJ Labs is pledging $50 million over the next 10 years to the NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Know Your Rights Camp, and Equal Justice Initiative, among others, to support education and justice for black communities across the U.S. KaJ Labs is also offering free resources like hosting and other cloud services to tech startups that have gone through similar battles like ours.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. The NAACP is the creator of the #WeAreDoneDying campaign.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a global network and movement to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Know Your Rights Camp is committed to the liberation and well-being of black and brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass mobilization, and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.
The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
A disproportionate system of fundraising and racism exists for black founders trying to raise funds, particularly in the tech field. Kasr experienced those barriers and racism when he launched KaJ Labs in 2015. In the tech world, black founders are often used as a means of diverting attention and covering up a lack of diversity.
“Token hires don’t change diversity in your company, delivering core changes do,” said Kasr. “So much of my own journey in tech is still relevant in today’s era. I felt like the odds were against me. Black founders are often underinvested and as a black founder entering the tech space, it was difficult raising money and accessing the right resources.”
Recent events in the U.S. have focused a spotlight on the ongoing racism in the nation and the inequalities African-Americans face in business. “To change the systematic racial injustices and inequalities black founders face in tech, it’s going to take collaboration and black economic empowerment,” said Kasr.