Home » Clarence Wooten: The Black tech founder shaking up Silicon Valley 

Clarence Wooten: The Black tech founder shaking up Silicon Valley 

Shaping the future: Clarence Wooten's Silicon Valley odyssey

by Motoni Olodun
Clarence Wooten

Early Life and Education

Clarence Wooten, is a distinguished internet entrepreneur who has demonstrated exceptional acumen in creating and developing startups since 1998.

Wooten grew up in Walbrook Junction in inner-city Baltimore, Maryland. He studied architecture at Catonsville Community College and later graduated magna cum laude from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in business. He also took multiple courses in computer-aided design.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Wooten started his entrepreneurial journey as a Sophomore in College with Envision Designs, a company that built three-dimensional animated computer models for architects. He also co-founded Metamorphosis Studios, an interactive multimedia development firm. At the height of the dot-com boom, Wooten co-founded and served as CEO of ImageCafe. Touted as the Internet’s first online superstore of pre-fabricated websites for small businesses, ImageCafe was acquired for $23 million by Network Solutions/Verisign in November 1999, just seven months after it launched.

Wooten later founded and served as CEO of Progressly, a Silicon Valley-based startup. Progressly was later acquired by Box (NYSE: BOX) in 2018.

He also founded VentureFund where he serves as CEO. VentureFund is a real-time traction marketplace that makes it easy for founders to build relationships with investors simply by sharing a live feed of their startup’s growth data.

In addition to Progressly, Wooten is the founder and serves as Executive Chairman of Groupsite.com, a leader in social collaboration with over 50,000 companies and organizations as customers. Currently, he works as a Director and Entrepreneur in Residence at X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory (formerly known as Google X) where he directs talented teams to create radical new technologies to solve some of the World’s hardest problems.

Achievements and Recognition

Entrepreneur Magazine in February 2000 called Wooten a serial entrepreneur, and he was subsequently honored as a distinguished alumnus of Johns Hopkins University in 2010. 

Wooten has also made significant contributions to addressing the racial gap in Silicon Valley. He co-founded Revitalize and launched PitchBLCK, two critical organizations dedicated to bridging the funding gap faced by Black founders. These initiatives demonstrate how committed he is to ensuring the entrepreneurial community is inclusive and diverse.

Net Worth

Wooten sold his first tech business, ImageCafe, for $23 million back in 1999, which provided him with the capital that helped launch his career and other entrepreneurial projects. Although the exact net worth of Wooten is not publicly available, it’s clear that he is a wealthy force in the black tech community. 

Giving Back

Wooten is committed to giving back to society, through his various philanthropic projects. He founded Purpose for Profit (PFP), an innovative initiative that uses blockchain technology to address important issues related to opportunity and social inequality. PFP is a tokenized endowment fund for environmental, social, and governance impact.

Wooten’s philanthropic efforts come from his personal experiences. While he grew up in a rough neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland, he saw firsthand how under-resourced communities face numerous crippling challenges. His success as an entrepreneur was what motivated him to transform such places across the country.

In addition to PFP, Wooten is also a general partner at Revitalize Venture Studio, which contributes to changing the color of tech by building software startups with black founders and diverse teams. Revitalize is also focused on empowering underrepresented and underestimated communities.

The American Association of Community Colleges, have recognized Wooten’s philanthropy and selected him as one of their Outstanding Alumni of 2016. This award recognizes community college alumni for their career achievements, philanthropic contributions, and inspirational impact.

Wooten’s journey is a testament to his business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit. From his humble beginnings in Baltimore to his success in Silicon Valley, Wooten has demonstrated the power of innovation, perseverance, and strategic thinking. His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring black entrepreneurs around the world.

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