Morgan DeBaun (AB ’12) finds success with Blavity, a Black online community.

At 24, Morgan DeBaun (AB ’12) cofounded media startup Blavity with three other WashU alumni (Aaron Samuels, BSBA ’11; Jeff Nelson, BS ’10; and Jonathan Jackson, AB ’13). Blavity is a blend of the words “black” and “gravity” and describes the organic pull felt by black students to share common experiences. After witnessing the lack of space for creative black individuals to gather online, DeBaun decided to create one.

Since its foundation in 2014, Blavity has become extremely successful, bringing in over $6 million in venture capital in 2018 and doubling in size in the past year. Blavity employs over 50 employees, works with some 100 contractors, and has offices in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Now, over 1.8 million viewers visit Blavity each month.

And Blavity now includes multiple brands: 21Ninety, Travel Noire, and Shadow and Act. Blavity also has begun in-person events and conferences, including AfroTech in Silicon Valley and Summit21 in Atlanta.

DeBaun served as Student Union president at WashU. The experience helped her hone invaluable leadership abilities such as running meetings, speaking up, and arguing her point. DeBaun also took advantage of the flexible curriculum at WashU, majoring in political science and minoring in both education and entrepreneurship.

Since pioneering Blavity, DeBaun landed a spot in the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016. She hopes that Blavity is a brand that incites trust and pushes the culture forward.

Read more about founder and CEO DeBaun in Washington Magazine.

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