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Hack To Start
Episode 133

Morgan DeBaun

CEO + Founder of @Blavity. Building community through technology.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Morgan DeBaun is the co-founder and CEO of Blavity. Morgan initially wanted to be a teacher before learning more about startups. She then started to explore some of her own ideas for startups before diving into a career as a Product Manager. After a few years at Intuit, Morgan later joined a much smaller startup in San Francisco called Demandforce. She then started to think about launching a company of her own. Today, with a team of 17, Blavity reaches more than 20M readers per month, runs 2 major conferences a year, and has raised over 1M in funding. Morgan joins us to share her story, how she started her career in tech, what motivated her to launch Blavity, how she had to approach fundraising, why they started a pair of conferences, and much more!

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Morgan got into startups
  • Learn more about what motivated Morgan to launch Blavity
  • Learn more about how Morgan approached raising funding
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Morgan DeBaun is the co-founder and CEO of Blavity.

Morgan initially wanted to be a teacher before learning more about startups. She then started to explore some of her own ideas for startups before diving into a career as a Product Manager.

After a few years at Intuit, Morgan later joined a much smaller startup in San Francisco called Demandforce. She then started to think about launching a company of her own.

Today, with a team of 17, Blavity reaches more than 20M readers per month, runs 2 major conferences a year, and has raised over 1M in funding.

Morgan joins us to share her story, how she started her career in tech, what motivated her to launch Blavity, how she had to approach fundraising, why they started a pair of conferences, and much more!


Some Of The Questions We Ask

1:37
Where are you from and what did you study?

3:12
How did you passion for tech and entrepreneurship come about?

7:10
You ended up working across several teams on a variety of projects. Can you tell us more about some of the projects you had a chance to work on?

9:38
So transitioning from a larger team to a startup, what were some of the biggest lessons that you learnt?

10:28
Today you’re the founder of Blavity. Can you tell us more about Blavity and what motivated you to start it?

12:56
Can you tell us more about what was it like really starting and going full-time on Blavity? What were some of the early challenges you had to overcome?

14:23
How has the vision for the site changed or grown? And how has Blavity taken on the challenge of showcasing and supporting multi-cultural creators?

15:29
Blavity has grown to over 20M readers since launching in 2014. What’s it been like building this community and what are some of the most effective channels to get the word out and see this growth?

18:39
Blavity just raised 1M in funding last September from various investors. What was this process like for you and why did you choose to raise money?

23:19
You’ve also launched a pair of awesome conference called Empower Her & AfroTech. What was the motivation behind launching this and how did you approach putting the conference together?

26:58
What’s next for Blavity in 2017?

29:00
If you could share some advice - about building a career or life - with your younger self - what would you say?

30:14
What are some of apps that you’ve downloaded and really loved recently?

31:05
Do you have any recommendations on some great content that you’ve come across lately?

32:09
Any last thoughts or personal mottos that you live by that you think others should know about?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Morgan DeBaun on Twitter
Blavity on Twitter
Blavity on the web
AfroTech
EmpowerHer
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

Mario Run
Ringly
Trello
Digiday
Gimlet Media

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