Monique Woodard is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups where she invests in early stage startups. She believes that the current $2.5 trillion in combined black and Latino purchasing power is creating the next big emerging market ‒ right here in the United States. She invests in startups led by black and Latino founders and the companies that serve those markets.
Monique is also the Founder and Executive Director of Black Founders a nonprofit startup started by four tech friends in a San Francisco restaurant over shrimp and grits and jazz music. Their hack-a-thons at historically black colleges and universities and workshops and conferences for founders are designed to move entrepreneurs from idea to execution. With a mission to increase the number of successful black entrepreneurs in tech, the organization has cultivated a new generation of tech founders from Silicon Valley to New York City, Atlanta, Austin, and several HBCU campuses.
Previously, Monique served as one of the first Innovation Fellows for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office where she worked on the many ways that a city at the epicenter of innovation can use technology to transform workforce and other government services. During her fellowship term, she wrote the resolution on broadband and unlicensed spectrum which was adopted at the US Conference of Mayors and contributed to the City’s early strategy around community internet access and closing the digital divide in low-income and minority communities.
Monique was an entrepreneur before entrepreneurship was the new normal. She has built things big and small, including Speak Chic – a mobile app that teaches you how to correctly pronounce fashion brands. Speak Chic was featured in Harper’s Bazaar UK, Cosmopolitan, Essence and InStyle.
Monique has been an advisor to for-profit startups and technology-focused philanthropic organizations including EveryoneOn.org and Startup Policy Lab. She regularly speaks, writes, and advises in the areas of consumer technology, diversity, and civic technology. She has been interviewed around entrepreneurship and diversity for MSNBC, The Daily Beast, New York Times, Buzzfeed, NPR, TheRoot, and Essence.