Joah Spearman is the founder and CEO of Localeur, a leading travel startup that shares local recommendations in over 200 cities around the world. Localeur has been praised by The Today Show, Forbes, TIME, The Guardian, and countless others media outlets, and has partnered with Nike, Match.com, Lyft, JetBlue Airways, RVShare, Bonobos and Tablet Hotels, among others. Joah is one of the few African-American technology founders to have raised more than $5 million, and he did so by securing the backing of more than 100 strategic investors in more than 25 cities including Backstage Capital, a diversity-focused venture fund, Capital Factory, the leading tech incubator in Texas, several early-stage Facebook executives, multiple Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ winners such as WP Engine Chairwoman and CEO Heather Brunner, Deep Eddy Vodka and Sweet Leaf Tea founder Clayton Christopher and Bazaarvoice, data.world and CoreMetrics founder Brett Hurt, along with five Texas-based angel networks, led by the Central Texas Angel Network.
Joah has become a sought-after speaker on a range of podcasts and for stories in major publications such as Barron’s, Financial Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine and NPR. He has also become a frequently-requested speaker for leading tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and RetailMeNot along with conferences and tech audiences like the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Urban Land Institute, AfroTech, Startup Grind, South by Southwest and TechStars due to his unique understanding of a range of issues and topics from entrepreneurship and racial equity to startup fundraising and scaling a community globally. He delights audiences all over the country with his compelling tales of how he went from a childhood of food stamps and an absent father to gracing the TED stage and rubbing elbows with the CEO of Apple, and what it takes for more people like him – people of color, women, folks from low-income backgrounds-to get into similar positions and rooms. Joah is one of the people who can say he took an idea from the back of a napkin to global scale, and that he wasn’t expected to be able to. Joah serves as on the advisory board for Peoplism, a leading consultancy focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and is also the Sustainability Council chair for Petal, an emerging sustainability brand. Joah is an angel investor in Moon and PopCom, both of which are led by Black founders, and recently contributed to Backstage Capital, which funds and supports Black and other underestimated founders.
Joah previously served as the chairman of the board of directors for AIDS Services of Austin, the leading HIV/AIDS organization in Central Texas, and served for two terms as a member of the executive committee of the board of directors for KLRU-TV, Austin’s PBS affiliate, which owns the legendary music program Austin City Limits. Joah currently serves as membership chair for the board of directors of ZACH Theatre, the leading performing arts theatre in Central Texas, where he brought more people of color onto its board of directors than any time in the organization’s history. Joah previously served as vice chair of the Austin Music Commission, which advised the Mayor and City Council on music- and sound-related issues in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and also served on the Downtown Commission. He has raised thousands of dollars for both causes and charities over the years including for the March of Dimes, of which he was awarded its national scholarship in 2001, Austin Justice Coalition and countless others. United Way of Greater Austin called Joah one of nine “young professionals making Austin greater.”
Joah has become one of the top global contributors on technology, diversity and entrepreneurship-related topics on global workforce platform LinkedIn and has written for outlets like Inc Magazine, Business Insider and Texas Observer. He was named of the Top Voices for VC & Entrepreneurship in 2016, one of the Top Voices for Management & Workplace in 2017, and one of the Top Voices in Startups & Entrepreneurship in 2018. Joah is the co-author of Real Role Models: Successful African Americans Beyond Pop Culture (Univ. of Texas Press). Joah has been a frequent writer on topics ranging from the Obama Presidency and role models to global travel and special events along with a speaker at leading universities and Texas-based colleges from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin to Prairie View A&M University and Texas State University. Joah was named one of the Top 10 Black Innovators of 2014 by MVMT 50, the Emerging Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Austin Black Chamber in 2013, and is a four-time finalist for Austin’s Under 40 Awards.