Five Questions For: Joah Spearman, Founder of Austin’s Localeur
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the money to me. It was the confidence associated, that was apparent with that move that I really started studying, “What is this about owning your own business?”
At that time, I made up my mind to be an entrepreneur and run my own business. The University of Texas ended up being my top pick and I ended up ended up studying public relations. The communication school didn’t let you have a minor, but I did the business foundations classes, and I studied Japanese as well.
X: You’ve been outspoken about what you feel are the inherent biases against black entrepreneurs in tech. Have you been “punished” for this, or received any sort of backlash?
JS: The backlash that I would say is along the lines of people don’t like it when you remind them of a problem that they have. They’re not going to be receptive to it. But at the same time, some people do want to change and be better. The best VCs in the world are into personal professional development the most. There are a lot of shady VCs that think they’re the best VCs, who say, “I see past color, yadda, yadda.”
What I’ve decided is the more I bring it up, the more I make it that only the best VCs will pay attention to me. I have a lot of people paying attention to my moves. That’s a good step.
When I wrote the blog about moving to Silicon Valley, top VCs with investments in the most cool unicorn companies reached out to me saying, “I hear what you’re saying. I want to meet with you,” or, “I have a friend who’s a successful CEO at a massive tech company who wants to meet with you.’’ Some people are interested in meeting people like me and interacting and learning and there’s people who won’t. I’m OK with that.
I am not moving to Silicon Valley. Since writing that post, an angel investor reached out to me who doesn’t want to be named. This person wrote the biggest check that anyone’s written to Localeur. This shows me there’s there there, a belief in me as CEO and my team. I’m pretty proud.
X: What did you want to be as a kid?
JS: If you ask my grandmother she would always say businessman. I was 4 or 5 years old before I could even fully say the word. I would say that from a pretty young age, I looked at my family and I didn’t see a lot of ownership. We didn’t have college degrees; we were … Next Page »