Serena Williams invests in Karat to double the number of Black software engineers in the US

Serena Williams speaking on stage

Global interviewing giant Karat has announced a strategic investment from tennis icon Serena Williams to significantly scale its Brilliant Black Minds program, an initiative designed to improve access and inclusion across the tech industry.

The program is now open to all current and aspiring Black software engineers, with Serena serving as Karat’s “Champion of Brilliance”. In doing so, she is supporting the firm’s call on the industry to add more than 100, 000 new Black engineers to tech over the next decade.

Brilliant Black Minds was launched in response to the multiple barriers to entry jobs that Black software engineers face in the tech industry, aiming to close the Interview Access Gap and tackle this disproportionate issue.

A microcosm of a wider societal problem, these issues range from structural inequities that delay early exposure to computer science to the limited information about how the industry hires, fewer connections in their professional networks, as well as the smaller number of opportunities to practice technical interviews.

In fact, in research conducted by Karat and Howard University, only 50% of the Black engineers surveyed said they had experienced a technical interview before they look for a job. However, the same data shows that confidence levels increase with more practice – with 79% of respondents with three practice interviews saying they were more likely to succeed.

With this investment from Serena Williams, the program is now open to all current and aspiring Black software engineers in the US who are looking to make progress on their technical interviewing skills.

As Champion of Brilliance, the tennis superstar will teach the importance of practice and building a championship mindset to help participants land secure their dream job in tech.

“The technology industry is focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. My focus is ensuring the solutions to those challenges are developed by all of us,” explained Serena Williams. “There has never been a shortage of brilliance in Black America; only limits to the access and opportunities extended to our community.

“That is why I am proud to team up with companies like Karat who are taking actionable steps to bring more diversity and equity to the industry, as well as call on others to be part of the change.”

Brilliant Black Minds leverages Karat’s Interviewing Cloud platform to deliver free interview practice, feedback and coaching to help aspiring engineers prepare to successfully enter the tech industry. It’s a human-plus-tech solution that offers predictive and fair live technical interviews conducted by a global network of interview engineers.

Karat says the expertise and data it has generated from hundreds of thousands of interviews have enabled it to create more candidate-centric experiences – particularly for engineers who have been previously overlooked by traditional hiring practices.

“The tech industry is the biggest opportunity generator of our lifetime. And yet, those opportunities have not been distributed equally. People who look like me have been mostly kept out of the highest levels of tech,” commented Anthony Mays, Senior Advisor to the Brilliant Black Minds program and former software engineer at Google.

“With Brilliant Black Minds, Black software engineers have a safe and collaborative space to learn how to crack the code on how the industry hires. All it takes is just one opportunity to change a person’s life, and the lives of those who come after.”

Daniel Todd

Dan is a freelance writer and regular contributor to ChannelPro, covering the latest news stories across the IT, technology, and channel landscapes. Topics regularly cover cloud technologies, cyber security, software and operating system guides, and the latest mergers and acquisitions.

A journalism graduate from Leeds Beckett University, he combines a passion for the written word with a keen interest in the latest technology and its influence in an increasingly connected world.

He started writing for ChannelPro back in 2016, focusing on a mixture of news and technology guides, before becoming a regular contributor to ITPro. Elsewhere, he has previously written news and features across a range of other topics, including sport, music, and general news.