Everette Taylor: from homelessness to becoming Kickstarter’s first Black CEO without college degree

Abu Mubarik July 27, 2023
Everette Taylor,. Ackime Snow/Kickstarter via Tech Crunch

Meet Everette Taylor; he is the first black CEO of Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform for creative projects like music, movies, art, theater, games, comics, and photography. He was first appointed into the position in 2022, after the then CEO, Aziz Hasan, officially stepped down. 

Prior to his current appointment, Taylor worked as the chief marketing officer for the online fine art marketplace, Artsy. He also worked at ET Enterprises and served as CEO of the social media firm PopSocial.

During his period at PopSocial, he was recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 in 2018 and an All-Star Alumni the following year due to the “substantial growth of the company”, according to Kickstarter. Also, Business Insider named him a “millennial entrepreneur who built a marketing and tech empire.” 

Taylor’s impressive career path also includes serving as CMO for Skurt and Head of Marketing at Qualaroo, companies he helped lead to successful acquisitions. He reportedly managed the growth of new mobile apps for a division of Microsoft China, as Interim Head of Marketing.

He also served as the CMO for the e-commerce company StickerMule. He was the company’s youngest-ever executive and led the company to substantial growth.

Taylor attributes his growth in his career to being a dreamer who never stopped chasing his dreams. According to him, one of his childhood career aspirations was to become a basketball player. He also aspired to become a rapper growing up in Richmond, Virginia.

“A lot of people where I’m from stay in this small neighborhood,” he told LinkedIn’s The Path. “I was always a dreamer. And so a lot of the things that I wanted to do were things that I felt [were] going to get me out of Richmond, Virginia, even if they weren’t realistic,” he said.

Taylor got into selling drugs but when his mother heard about it, she got him a job as a junior marketing assistant, promoting bookstores and gift shops for Civil War parks and Black history museums across Virginia.

Taylor, then 14, said the job kept him out of trouble and gave him enormous experience in marketing. In high school, he became homeless and according to Taylor, that marked the turning point in his life and gave him his greatest skill.

“It was one of the worst moments anyone can go through in their lives. But I think it really molded me into the person I am today,” Taylor said. “I think my strength as a leader is empathy, and there’s no better lesson of empathy than not having anything.”

His homelessness situation compelled him to find solace in the library, where he had access to a computer for the first time. He eventually got exposed to the life-changing stories of people like Mark Zuckerberg. This led him to pursue a career in tech.

Taylor’s first shot at entrepreneurship was the launch of a company that used social media to promote parties and sell pictures. But he sold the company, left Virginia Tech where he was schooling, and moved to Silicon Valley, where he landed several jobs, including his CMO role at Artsy.

Today, he is the first person of color to lead Kickstarter since it was founded.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 27, 2023


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