This article takes a look at some of the fantastic technologists hailing from Eritrea and Ethiopia (both in the diaspora and the motherland). The list is far from exhaustive, so please feel free to shout out anyone else in the comments!
1. Betelhem Dessie
At 10, she was coding. Now, at 19 Betelhem Dessie has been dubbed “the youngest pioneer in Ethiopia’s fast emerging tech scene” by CNN. Working at Ethiopia’s first Artificial Intelligence Lab [iCog], she was involved in the development of the world-famous Sophia the robot. This young technologist has four patented software programs – including an app for the Ethiopian government to map rivers used for irrigation.
2. Rediet Abebe PhD
Computer Scientist Rediet Abebe specializes in algorithms and ‘A.I. ethics/equity”. Co-founding two organizations; the research group Mechanism Design for Social Good and nonprofit Black in AI, she explores and scrutinizes the current state of the Artificial Intelligence field and what can be done to increase the presence of Black people in the said field.
3. Ambaye Michael Tesfay
Ambaye Michael Tesfay on the right.
Meet Ambaye Michael Tesfay, the man behind the Ethiopian revolutionary tech company-ETTA Solutions PLC. Founded in 2016, ETTA Solutions has already made its mark by creating Ethiopia’s first-ever Taxi Hailing App: EthiopiaTaxi. But Tesfay doesn’t stop there, his company has also created a new food delivery app called Z App. Think Uber Eats, but in Ethiopia!
4. Lewam Kefela
Lewam Kefela became an Analyst at The Carlyle Group in 2015 after interning with them during her final year of college. After three years of working as an analyst, Kefela leaped into the world of Venture Capital. An investor at VilCap Investments, she invests in early-stage ventures that focus on delivering solutions to global, social, or environmental challenges in education, healthcare, financial services, and sustainable agriculture and energy.
5. Azarias Reda PhD
Born in Ethiopia, Azarius Reda, moved to the US for College where he gained his Ph.D. in Computer Science. Serving as CTO of the Republic Party’s 2016 presidential campaign, Reda has since made it on to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. An entrepreneur, he also founded Carma Car Subscriptions (Tech Stars 17 batch) as well EthioTrack which pioneered GPS based fleet telematics solutions in Ethiopia. He was featured in TIME Magazine’s 12 Faces of Black Leadership.
6. Michael Berhane
Michael Berhane is co-founder and CEO of the award-winning platform you are currently reading – POCIT [as well as the co-host of the tech and pop culture podcast Techish]. A Software Engineer by trade and previously worked in the London startup scene tech scene Berhane initially co-founded POCIT in 2015 as a side project!
POCIT has since expanded into a fully-fledged platform, with companies such as Netflix, HubSpot and Atlassian using it to recruit amazing talent.
7. Yodit Stanton
Self-proclaimed data nerd, Yodit Stanton,, is the Founder of Open Sensors IO. After feeling frustrated about the limited access to real-time data, Stanton created Open Sensors which provides public and private data infrastructure enabling anyone to publish real-time data from sensor networks. Stanton is also an organizer of the Women in Data Group that brings women in data together for monthly events, workshops, and discussions.
8. Yonas Beshawred
Ethiopian-American Yonas Beshawred,, [previously at Accenture] is the Founder and CEO of StackShare – the go-to website for developers seeking to discover a companies tech stack. Utilized by the likes of Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook, the platform allows companies to attract developers well versed in the technologies they employ. Founded in 2014, and dubbed by TechCrunch a “secret weapon for developers and CTO’s in the Valley” StackShare has raised a total of $7million.
9. Saron Yitbarek
Developer, podcaster and speaker. Saron Yitbarek is the CEO and Founder of CodeNewbie. Born in Ethiopia, Yitbarek moved to the US as a child, where she later worked in Science Journalism. Thirsty for more knowledge, Yitbarek decided to learn how to code and attended a coding boot camp which led her to work at places like ThoughtBot and Microsoft. She then founded her company CodeNewbie in 2014 and started hosting twitter chats for people interested in learning to code. Fast-forward to 2019, and she has now recorded over 200 podcast interviews with developers around the world on her podcast CodeNewbie.
10. Nathan Maalo
Disruptor of the UK’s barbershop industry, British-Eritrean Nathan Maalo is the Co-founder of the new app Trim-it. The app that offers a subscription service for men to get their hair cut without the hassle of traveling to the barbershop or waiting in long queues. Trim-it is a mobile barbershop service, which has revolutionized the barbershop experience. However, Maalo and his co-founder Darren Tenkorang did not by any means have a comfortable journey gaining support for their venture. Rejection after rejection left the two co-founders on the verge of shutting the company down. But just in time, they received £225,000 in funding! [See the tweet below for the full story]. Now, Trim-it is doing so well that they recently announced that they are expanding to offer mobile nail services.
Ermias Asghedom Aka Nipsey Hussle
Although he is no longer with us, it would be impossible to forget the legendary Eritrean-American Ermias Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle. As a rapper and entrepreneur, Nipsey broke barriers [leveraging technology at all times]. From creating the first $100 mixtape to inventing the worlds first smart store [partnering with precocious tech genius Iddris Sandu], to investing in the crypto currency space. He was also thoroughly committed to building a bridge between South LA and Silicon Valley, co-founding the co-working space and STEM education center Vector90 – based in his home neighborhood of Crenshaw.
Originally written for http://www.peopleofcolorintech.com