Blavity, the new media and lifestyle site for the young and black in America, takes on meaningful subjects like the Black Lives Matter movement, NFL player protests and discrimination from Airbnb.
The site, which showcases BuzzFeed-like content such as “15 times athletes joined Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest,” reaches about 7 million unique visitors per month and just announced a new design and is currently raising $1 million in seed funding.
Co-founder – and “true unicorn” in the tech industry as a black, female co-founder and CEO of a startup – Morgan DeBaun came on the TechCrunch Disrupt SF stage for the first time today to chat about all that it takes to make it when there aren’t many like her raising or running a company in Silicon Valley.
“You can see it within 5 minutes if a VC is going to get it,” DeBaun said of startups focused on diversity.
But it’s not only VC’s who sometimes don’t get her vision. Even those in the black community don’t always agree with what she’s doing, according to DeBaun. An article about a Netflix documentary caused a bit of controversy earlier this year and the co-founder ultimately decided to take the article down based on the rough feedback.
“It was a tough editorial decision,” she said, adding it probably won’t be the only time that happens. “I set myself up for criticism any time we release anything…it’s tough sometimes.”
So how does she determine what is going to be relevant to her audience? It’s all about listening to a young, black demographic, which includes DeBaun. Part of that means trolling “black Twitter,” getting input from the community and pulling relevant content from the news of the day.
Although the site’s sole focus is on black interests, it still holds some value for even “white women in Kansas City” DeBaun mentioned. “I think it’s fantastic. Blavity has something for everybody.”
But DeBaun’s bigger ambition is to go beyond the media site and make Blavity into a lifestyle platform. What does that mean? That’s still under wraps, it seems but will include fireside chats and other types of community building — and there’s momentum in the black community to grow the audience with rising VC’s, tech companies and co-founders and more discussion about diversity and inclusion so we’ll likely see something reflecting those developments.