Slack, diversity win big at ‘Crunchies’ tech awards

Slack, diversity win big at ‘Crunchies’ tech awards

Diversity won big at last night’s Crunchies awards — a stark contrast to last year’s event, which was criticized for being a mostly white, male awards ceremony.

Comedian Chelsea Peretti, who headlined the annual startup and technology award show, kicked the night off with a few stabs to the Silicon Valley’s homogeneity.

“I hate all white men — sorry everybody here.” Peretti joked. “The Bay Area has become such an inclusive place for both millionaires and billionaires”

“They asked me to speak on the issue of diversity in tech world,” said Peretti. “Let me float out a kooky idea: Hire a non-white host.”

The show, which took place Monday night at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, gave its first-ever award for diversity, the Include Diversity Award, to Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code for making the biggest contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

Young women in the program “find their voice,” Bryant told USA TODAY earlier this year. “We are creating a powerful community of women skilled and confident about what they can create in the workplace.”

Slack won for Fastest Rising Startup. The audience — and Twitterverse — were thrilled when a team of engineers, all women of color, accepted it.

“There are many things that are major keys to the success of Slack, not least of which are diversity and inclusion,” Kiné Camara said as she accepted the award. “The idea that diversity helps companies improve the culture and the bottom line may be somewhat controversial. But all we know is we’ve got 9% of women of color in engineering at Slack … and we are the fastest growing enterprise software of all time.”

Slack Technologies issued its second diversity report earlier this month, issued five months after the first in a rare display of openness from a tech company about its ongoing struggles to change the demographics of its workforce. Slack has no underrepresented minorities in its upper management or on its board of directors. Its HR chief told USA TODAY, “we have some areas we need to work on.”

Full list of winners here:

Fastest Rising Startup: Slack
Founder of the Year: Stewart Butterfield
Include Diversity Award: Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code
VC of the Year: Bill Gurley
Best New Startup: Honor
CEO of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg
Hardware Of The Year: Samsung Gear VR
Biggest Social Impact:
Best Angel Investor: Scott and Cyan Banister
Best Mobile App: Facebook Messenger
Best Technology Achievement: SpaceX Falcon 9
Best Overall Startup: Uber


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