DURHAM – Durham startup tech hub American Underground is looking to draw an audience for a potential new chapter of the global ImBlackInTech membership organization. To test the market, it is hosting a series of “Monthly Mixers” throughout the remainder of 2018.

The Monthly Mixers provide a venue for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to network and collaborate. The series is one of the many sub-programs of ImBlackInTech, a global network of more than 3,000 Black and Latinx founders and professionals in over 40 cities and 11 countries.

American Underground will be hosting its own installments in the series through December, in hopes of prompting the opening of an ImBlackInTech chapter in the Triangle.

AU has already held two events in June and July—both sold out, with over 100 attendees at each one.

These results appear to show the demand for an organization like ImBlackInTech in the Triangle. And American Underground is a natural host, as it is driving the effort to make the local tech scene more inclusive with partners and programs including BRIDGE (Building Resources for Inclusion, Diversity and Growth in Entrepreneurship, the CODE2040 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange: Black Founders, Code the Dream and Black Wall Street.

The organizers behind the local Monthly Mixer Series events are Tarryn Henry, director of member experience at American Underground and CEO of Tarryn Henry Enterprises, author, designer and social media brand manager Jade Brieanne, and executive coach, consultant and lifestyle strategist Naya Powell.

Henry said AU was first connected with ImBlackInTech through the CODE2040 Residency Program, which is hosted at American Underground.

“AU made a line in sand commitment three years ago to become the most diverse and inclusive tech hub in the country” Henry said. “We realized some time ago that one of the keys to achieving this goal would be by aligning with organizations like ImBlackInTech with national and global reach in the Black and Latinx tech community, along with local presence in the Triangle.”

The first ImBlackInTech mixer at American Underground in June

Operating nationally and internationally, the ImBlackInTech network hosts a range of programs, including panels featuring founders and investors, a digital currencies seminar series, diversity and inclusion workshops, educational events about social media and PR, mobile app and software development, and more. In addition to the Mixer Series, ImBlackInTech hosts a family-style brunch series for startup founders and regular talent-matching events for professionals in tech fields. There is also a half-day micro-conference for enterprise startups.

Henry said that though there is not currently a local chapter in the Triangle, there are several ImBlackInTech members in the area. The Monthly Mixer Series is a start to test the market for an expansion. The sold-out turnout of the first two events shows promise for a potential long-term partnership.

“If the trend continues for six months, ImBlackInTech will make us an official chapter, and green light us to bring more of the close to 20 high-impact founder development, professional development, community development and member relationship development event series in its roster to the RTP,” Henry said. “Ultimately, our community will decide if ImBlackInTech stays for years to come.”

The next ImBlackInTech event will be held August 21 from 6-6:30 p.m. See all upcoming Monthly Mixer events here.