This summer in Kansas City on the 3rd Friday of July, August & September, OHUB x KCUP will hosts a monthly event series featuring startup entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, entrepreneur support programs and ecosystem builders from across the nation and beyond. This event series will serve as vetted interest feeder into OHUB's entrepreneurship support programming which will include a workshop series, bootcamp, pre-accelerator and accelerator.
FRIDAY, August 16th, 2019
Keshia Knight Pulliam, Co-founder & General Partner, Fearless Fund
Keshia Knight Pulliam is the youngest person to ever be nominated for an Emmy Award. Decades after making her debut in entertainment she continues to be among the most loved and respected actresses in the business. After eight seasons of playing the iconic Rudy Huxtable on the groundbreaking Emmy and Golden Globe award winning television show “The Cosby Show”, Keshia decided to turn her focus toward education.
Keshia graduated with honors from Spelman College in 2001 with a B.A. in Sociology and a concentration in Film. Upon graduation from Spelman College, Keshia continued acting and won 4 NAACP Image awards for work on “The House of Payne”.
In 2010, Keshia started her non-profit The Kamp Kizzy Foundation and, in 2016, expanded her brand to launch her weekly podcast Kandidly Keshia and spice line Keshia’s Kitchen.
Arian Simone, Co-founder and General Partner, Fearless Fund
Arian Simone, Founder and CEO of Arian Simone Enterprises, is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, angel investor, author, and PR & marketing specialist. Arian received her MBA from Florida A&M and has over 17 years of entrepreneurial experience from pioneering and growing a successful PR and marketing firm to founding Fearless Magazine and the Fearless Platform in 2010 with a mission of inspiring millennial entrepreneurial women.
Her background has allowed her to foster significant relationships in the entertainment industry with billion-dollar corporate clients such as the Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and more.
Brian Brackeen, General Partner, Lightship Capital
Brian Brackeen is the globally recognized founder of Miami based face recognition innovator, Kairos. His leadership saw the company selected by Wall Street Journal as one of the top 25 startups in the country, and drove growth within the company and the face recognition space-- positioning Kairos alongside tech giants like Microsoft and Face++ as one of the world’s foremost face recognition software providers. Kairos has processed nearly a billion faces for many of the Fortune 500. Kairos has raised over 13 million dollars from investors.
Brian is a respected authority on algorithmic bias, and an outspoken opponent of government engagement of face recognition software for use in civilian surveillance. His approach to inspiring excellence in a startup environment is reflective of personal discipline, servant leadership and ethical consideration. An expert in building high performing artificial intelligence teams, he mentors new startup founders on building ethics and diversity into their culture.
Prior to founding Kairos, Brian served as a Senior Project Manager for Apple Inc. before moving on from his position as Senior Managing Consultant at IBM. In addition to his work at Kairos, Brian lectures extensively around the world on entrepreneurship, code, digital economy, AI and machine learning— and participates in mentorship programs for organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and The School District of Miami
Featured Entrepreneur Support Program Providers
Candace Matthews Brackeen, Founder & CEO, Hillman
Candice Matthews Brackeen is the Founder and CEO of Hillman, the Cincinnati based business accelerator empowering tech-driven, market-ready businesses started by underrepresented founders.
In operating the first accelerator in the Midwest to provide support exclusively to this demographic, Candice has influenced state policy around required allocation of funds to founders identifying as part of an ethnic minority, in addition to establishing meaningful partnerships with companies like Proctor & Gamble, Kroger, and Chase in support of Hillman’s work.
Candice has over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience including co-founding Hello Parent, a national safety technology partner of the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She later founded the Cincinnati Chapter of the Black Founders Network (BFN), to address the need for increased diversity and inclusion efforts in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Candice recently served on the Board of Directors at Beech Acres Parenting Center where she chaired the Parenting Innovation and Technology Committee. She also holds a Director seat on the board of the Justin T. Wright Suicide Prevention Initiative and Depression Research Foundation. Candice is a recipient of both the VentureOhio Catalyst of the Year and the Cincinnati Business Courier Women Who Mean Business awards. Candice maintains a busy fundraising schedule, and works diligently to identify and develop tech startups. She holds a BA Economics from the University of Cincinnati and was a Hewitt-Kautz Fellow. She enjoys music and spending time with her two sons.
Rodney Sampson, Chairman & CEO, OHUB
Rodney Sampson is heralded as the leading inclusive ecosystem builder in the world, particularly given his mission to ensure that under-tapped communities have equitable access to the multi-generational wealth creation opportunities afforded in the innovation economy as definitive paths to reducing poverty and the racial wealth gap everywhere.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Sampson cofounded, built and sold Multicast Media Technologies (Streamingfaith.com) and EFactor (EFCT). During this time, Sampson also built Intellectual Currency, a world class integrated go-to-market, publishing and diversity and advisory firm with clients ranging from major Hollywood film studios, cable networks, tech companies, global corporates, publishers, African heads of state and leading black denominations.
In 2013, Sampson cofounded Opportunity Hub as a follow up to the highly successful Kingonomics’ book release and large-scale conferences in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.
In 2015, Opportunity Hub merged with TechSquare Labs, a corporate innovation lab, seed fund and creator of the $100,000 Atlanta Startup Battle.
Today, as Executive Chairman & CEO of Opportunity Hub, Sampson is focused on scaling its suite of collaborative and interconnected technology products, programs, initiatives and fund globally in partnership with major foundations, corporations, tech startups, venture funds, municipalities, colleges and universities.
Sampson is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brooking Institution in Washington, DC and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Sampson previously served as the 1st Head of Diversity at Mark Burnett Productions, executive producers of the hit ABC show, ABC’s Sharktank.
A duly consecrated bishop and noted philanthropist, Sampson resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and six children.