LaKisha Greenwade is an ecosystem founder who is a bridge to bring together wearable tech founders and wearable tech industry professionals, investors, corporations, universities, and government officials. Greenwade mobilizes everyone from budding tech startups and underrepresented founders to youth who could benefit from knowing more about wearable tech. Knowing how expansive the wearable tech industry is may open unknown doors of invention or employment.
“There are many examples that are beyond the fitness watch and… fitness bands. Wearable tech can also be found in the health industry, so if someone is a diabetic and they are monitoring their glucose, there are tools that are used on the body that helps to measure their glucose, and to report. So, if you know someone that’s a type 1 diabetic and they have a pump on their body, that’s an example of wearable technology,” Greenwade said. “If you’ve ever seen light up shoes, that’s wearable technology.”
Greendwade—who is Baltimore, Maryland based —is on a mission to educate others and develop a pipeline of diverse talent through a nonprofit she founded called Wearable Tech Ventures.
“Our nonprofit has the focus of developing and promoting wearables,” Greenwade said. “By 2030, our focus is to support 100 startups that are led by underrepresented founders.”
Youth are included in Wearable Tech Ventures’ mentoring efforts. Learning technical skills, gaining knowledge about how to pitch products, and receiving experiential learning opportunities are provided to individuals who are interested in wearable tech.
Greenwade’s nonprofit possesses a global presence. Wearable Tech Ventures develops platforms such as hackathons to support talent worldwide from as far away as Sweden and Africa. Greenwade added that she “would love for Baltimore to embrace it a little bit more,” since engagement in other states has been higher in prior times.
A company providing quantified B2B research lends support to Greenwood’s efforts to introduce more individuals to a growing industry.
“The global wearable healthcare devices market is projected to reach USD 30.1 billion by 2026 from USD 16.2 billion in 2021, at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 13.2%,” according to MarketsandMarkets™. “Wearables play a vital role in fighting against COVID-19 and other future pandemics.”
Greenwade’s wearable tech journey, which integrates a fashion spin, began when she founded the wearable tech ecosystem in 2015. GlamTech focused on fashion tech. The 501(c)(3) organization materialized in 2019 to include an ecosystem composed of all wearables. The tech-minded leader is self-taught and does not “come from a technical background.” While recovering from surgery, she wanted to develop a product for herself. Then, the murder of Freddie Gray happened. The year 2015 was a pivotal time for Greenwade.
“I didn’t like how people of color (Black people) and children were portrayed in the media. I wanted to find a way to develop a platform where their genius could be displayed,” Greenwade said. “At that time, tech was not a thing in Baltimore. I was just really curious, and it really was a God-given idea to put fashion and tech together.”
Greenwade did not give up on her goal. Her nonprofit is gearing up to host a hackathon independently, for the first time. From July 25- 29, 2022, a virtual event focusing on wearable tech called Tech REMIXed will be held for adults and youth 13 and older. Gaming & The Metaverse will be available to younger participants. Experience is not required to participate. Adults 18 and up with or without technical knowledge may also come to the table to ideate and pitch a solution to tracks. According to Wearable Tech Venture’s website, these include: Health, Fitness & Safety; Medical Device Revolution; FashTech/Sustainability Challenge; and Ethics & Innovation. Teams will work together through tools such as Slack, Discord, Zoom, and Google Drive.
“Since the goal of the event is to rapidly bring meaningful solutions to life, participants should expect to commit either days, evenings or both, and Friday morning/early afternoon to the Challenge,” per more information provided via Wearable Tech Venture’s website.
Participants will be expected to coordinate availability with fellow virtual team members. They should apply as individuals since teams are formed on-site.
“If there are adults that are maybe seeking a career change, perhaps they’re trying to gain additional practice with pitching their products or learning how to pitch… from a technical environment, or those that just want to gain some additional technical skills, this is for them,” Greenwade said.
Part II is coming next week. Please visit https://www.wearabletechventures.org/news-1 for more information about Tech REMIXed.