Going Tech To Creating A Platform That Uplifts Black Talent

Martel Metellus is the founder of Soko, a discovery network for the Black community to connect, collaborate and find new opportunities. Soko was founded in September 2019. Martel Metellus got into the tech industry as he realized that “the people with real power and money were the owners and executives. Real wealth, hiring and the overall power to make changes within organizations lie with the leaders of these tech companies” as said by Mr. Metellus. He then created Soko to build a pipeline machine that will propel today’s Black talent into tomorrow’s powerful, influential leaders in any industry, in his own words.

Here Martel Metellus takes us through the reasons behind going the tech direction and building a social network. 

1. What inspired/ prompted you to create a Social Network for Black Talent? 

I noticed how most successful opportunities were through connections and believed that we as Black people aren’t well connected with each other as much as we should be. We have people in positions of power that would help us if only we had a closer relationship. I also realized that like myself, a lot of young Black people don’t know the true paths to wealth within certain industries and would thrive if they only had direction. I was lucky enough to have opportunities to meet some powerful people and thought that we should all have those opportunities as well but there wasn’t a vehicle to allow for these powerful actions to take place. I took it upon myself to start to execute on my idea.  

2. Tell us about how you got into the Tech industry? 

I knew nothing about the tech industry especially coming into college. All I knew was sports, and regular finance careers. Tech didn’t come to my attention until I started looking up the most lucrative careers and noticed that all of the top 10 were mostly technology careers. This led me to do research on the industry and that is what got me into looking at startups since I noticed there were founders of these tech startups/companies that were making millions of dollars from something that initially was an idea. One of my professors who was an investor told me that I should go into software sales to learn the industry and that it would be a great primer to becoming an entrepreneur in tech which is exactly what I did.  

3. In creating the Soko platform, would you say you have dealt with the pain points you initially had before establishing Soko? 

I would say that considering it is still in development, I feel that it has the strong potential of dealing with the pain points I felt. Being able to connect with others who look like me at the click of the button and being afforded opportunities that weren’t even on my radar is something that Soko will solve!

4. How has having the Soko network benefited you in terms of business? 

It has allowed for me to connect with some powerful Black professionals that are interested in an ecosystem like this and want to participate.  

5. How has Soko managed to develop over the past year with the pandemic challenge changing business in a whole new way? 

Well we are constantly building and I believe the pandemic has gotten us a lot of interest within the Black community to want to connect with each other while they were inside. With all of the social issues that were occurring during the pandemic, the need for this has grown and our attention has grown exponentially. 

6. With you being a Tech entrepreneur, what can one do in order to succeed in the same industry which is constantly changing? 

What I believe is that you must have a growth mindset. Having a fixed mindset will leave you in the dust with how things change. You have to always be reading blogs of other successful tech entrepreneurs to understand their journey and keeping track of social consumer trends that will help you. Also understanding product market fit and working to achieve that so that you are not wasting time and getting your product to the right people at the right time. Continue to educate yourself on the startup ecosystem and watch interviews of successful founders you look up to or have some successes you want to achieve.   

7. Tell us about your number one goal for Soko in 2021 and why that specific goal?

My #1 goal for Soko is to grow to 10,000 active users and this is my specific goal because this platform is dependent on users to make the platform valuable in the eyes of companies looking for talent. It also brings more users in because they want to be on a platform that other people are already using and deriving value from.   

8. You have a strong presence on Instagram for your businesses. When advising another young growing entrepreneur, what would you say regarding using Social Media for business endeavors? 

I would say to be authentically you and continue to post consistent content. People will follow you for your personality and for the value you provide, whether it be motivation, business tips, or anything else of value. Also show different aspects of your life and tie them together in a way that captivates audiences. I document my lifestyle which is fitness related and also business life and combine them for something that is both motivational, informational and entertaining.

Martel Metellus created the discovery network to help professionals expand their network and also maintain the network. To learn more about the social network for the Black community, sign in to Soko and connect with the community.