Welcome to the Founder Spotlight series where we get to know a tech founder who is working to create the next billion dollar company. Show your support by sharing her story and increasing the visibility of black women in tech!
Name: Kimberly Gray
@kimmyinthecity LinkedIn Facebook
What made you want to become an entrepreneur in tech?
I am a serial entrepreneur, opening Tiny Portraits the first 3D/4D Ultrasound prenatal photography service in Harlem, NY. I have always wanted to help create infrastructure and business opportunities in and for my community. Uvii is a virtual collaboration platform for education, as the product of two D.C. public school principals, I am using what I learned from them and the tools of modern technology to improve how we teach. Uvii provides video response tools and enables social curriculum, and work force training for students where they spend most of their time on mobile devices.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
I first began working in tech with an Israeli fashion startup call Fashioholic, as Chief Creative Officer for the deep linking blogger based social e-commerce site. My inspiration comes from my documentary film background, through my production company 77 Films, Inc. Uvii was born out of a chance experience at Harvard University. My doc “Life on Christopher Street”, about Black and Latino gay youth in the Hip Hop community was presented at the Havard Black Arts Festival, the university hosted my accommodations and threw an afterparty at an exclusive social club, The Phoneix. This was right around the time The Social Network, the Facebook film came out. I remembered watching it, the night that Mark Zuckerberg came up for the algorithm for Facebook was the night he couldn’t get into a party where…The Phoenix Club, and here I was and they were throwing a party for me! From that point on I knew I had to come up with something special and a little clever to help impact the world for good.
What is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
The knowledge that you are doing something you truly love is what makes me go hard for my craft. The idea of creating an infrastructure within my community to help others be self-sufficient.
What are you an expert in?
I worked as a celebrity stylist and style editor for many years, I can definitely re-arrange your wardrobe in ways you have never seen! One thing I am a definitive expert in is never giving up!
What advice would you give yourself before you started this company?
Do the research. Know and understand your market and customer. Are you solving a problem that people need, that they asked for? Don’t get caught up on the profoundness of the solution you think you’re creating. Focus on the biggest problem you can solve for the best outcome. Almost every advertisement on tv is solving a problem, establish that need first, then followed by the solution.
When will you feel like your company is successful?
When UVII is licensed to and subscribed by every higher learning institution, educator, and student for the City University of New York /CUNY and State University of New York /SUNY.
Tell us something cool you recently learned, big or small.
Pickles are cucumbers! Mind blown. Medgar Evers and Joe Louis are both buried at Arlington Cemetary
What’s the biggest thing we can help you with so you can become a billion dollar founder?
Networking 1001. Team building by far, I am nothing without a strong team who sees the vision. Being a CEO is a constant learning curve, the more I can NETWORK and LEARN with my peers helps keep my head above the entrepreneurial clouds to make the best next steps happen.
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Thank you Marilyn for the profile! #UVII