Washington, DC –  Technology and LGBT advocacy came together at a White House meeting on Monday, July 7th, to discuss how innovation can help deliver change and resolve issues in the community.

The StartOut delegation of sixteen, including several members of StartOut’s boards of directors and governors, as well as senior StartOut leadership, major donors, and entrepreneurs were in attendance.

The President’s offices of Public Engagement and Science & Technology Policy, with the leadership of Leanne Pittsford (Lesbians Who Tech) and Taryn Miller-Stevens (Get / Out), hosted nearly 200 entrepreneurs, tech experts, and leaders from the LGBT community at the first White House LGBT Innovation Summit.

“To have the White House hold a summit on LGBT innovation and technology is truly remarkable,” said Thomas McAfee, president of gay social network Distinc.tt and a StartOut member.

548481_TILE_574029Speakers included Meghan Smith, VP GoogleX;  Tim Gill, founder of Quark publishing software and a prominent gay rights activist; Geena Rocero, founder of transgender rights group Gender Proud; and Leanne Pittsford, founder of Lesbians Who Tech. Participating groups included LGBT Tech Partnership, Maven, NGLCC, oSTEM, Out for Undergrad, Out in Tech, Out Leadership, Reaching Out MBA, StartOut, and Trans*H4CK.

“Everyone is collecting data for their populations, but in most spaces LGBT questions are absent. And data is required for the advancement of any population,” said one attendee. Collecting and quantifying the much-needed data on the segments of the LGBT communities was among the many topics covered.

During the summit there were multiple networking sessions and opportunities to deliver ‘elevator pitches’ introducing the organizations present, and allowing them to connect with resources and advice from fellow business leaders and innovators.

Many organizations and entrepreneurs present saw the tremendous value in StartOut’s ability to connect LGBT leaders to mentoring, education, and access to capital.  Several exciting potential partnerships are already in discussion thanks to the White House LGBT Innovation Summit.


KQED radio in San Francisco highlighted StartOut’s participation in the summit, which you can click to hear below.

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