I don't own a tech startup, but I can relate to what the people in this article For Black CEOs in Silicon Valley, Humiliation is a Part of Doing Business, are talking about.
I have been assumed to be the part of the cleaning staff at a place where I did not work. I've been asked (while wearing a suit and minding my own business eating my lunch) if I needed a job and asked to clean someone's house. I've been refused an application for the position I wanted to apply for and given an application for the job the recruiter thought I qualified for (even though they didn't ask me about my skills).
This assumption that Black people are not in charge, that we are not qualified, is insidious. It eats at you every time a white person assumes you aren't good enough or treats you as though you couldn't possibly be qualified or even straight out tells you that you ARE qualified, but they won't promote you because you're Black. (Yes, I know that's illegal, but people do it. And it's exhausting, so you have to choose which battles to fight. Sometimes it's just easier to find another job.)
And when you factor in cronyism and nepotism, Black people have to really work to have half a chance. If you didn't grow up with connections or proximity to wealth, that's just another obstacle.
Most businesses start with personal savings and family wealth, so Black businesses often have less startup capital. I'm sure you've heard the statistics that median family net worth for white families is $171,000, while the median family net worth for Black families is $17,150 (Tax Policy Center-Urban Institute & Brookings Institution). Applying for a business loan? What do you put up as collateral? Your house? White people started building equity in their homes with low-interest government loans after the first World War. Black people didn't have that same opportunity. As a matter of fact, Black people couldn't get government-backed housing loans, period, for decades.
I have hope that the #BlackLivesMatter movement not only shines a light on these inequities for mainstream society, but that people stay the course until we affect change. Black people are the only ones missing out on our genius. The country and the world are missing our creativity, too. When white America finally figures out that we have more to offer than just entertainment, maybe we will be invited to the table as equals.