Kendall Darling is not afraid to challenge the status quo – not only as a Black person in tech but also as an advocate for fair treatment of drivers and merchants in the third-party delivery service industry.
Through his delivery service platform, PilotX, Kendall is changing the way we think about the gig economy and the representation of Black and Brown entrepreneurs in the tech space.
In our interview with Kendall, he shared his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities for racialized innovators in Atlantic Canada, and he has some sage advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Kendall Darling. I am the co-founder of PilotX. PilotX is a delivery service platform that is focused on making delivery more affordable for customers and restaurants.
What has been your boldest business move?
My boldest business move, for one, is being a Black person entering the tech industry where there has been such a low representation of Black folks. And two is challenging the status quo as it relates to a third-party delivery service, also known as the gig economy, in regards to how drivers are treated in terms of compensation and the lack of benefits that they currently have. And also on the merchant side, where merchants are not treated well, where they have such high commission rates that are impeding their ability to increase their revenue and their profit margins.
What are the biggest challenges and biggest opportunities for racialized entrepreneurs in the field of tech in Atlantic Canada?
The biggest challenge of them all, I would say, would be access to funding. Second, a network of people and professionals for other areas of support. The biggest opportunity is the ability to now create technology that supports individuals in the BIPOC community, a community that has been underserved as it relates to technology and also to bring a new perspective of ideas and experiences to the tech industry that has not always been there due to the lack of representation. Such areas of technology include artificial intelligence. I think there needs to be more representation within these fields. Currently, there have been multiple studies that showcase that these systems, such as artificial intelligence, have been used to racially profile Black and Brown people and have prevented Black people from buying homes, getting bank loans and finding employment. So there are forms of bias and racism that are embedded in such systems.
How can we come together to radically reimagine the ecosystem and disrupt systemic barriers so that racialized businesses – and their communities – can flourish?
So we have come to a point where we must go beyond acknowledging the challenges and now create a strategic plan, both provincially and federally, and put mechanisms in place for accountability. So one initiative I can remember is the Black Entrepreneurship Fund; which was started in 2020 and has fallen short in many regards. We also need to have more community involvement that goes beyond acknowledging Black business during Black History Month alone, but every day of every month of the year.
What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Some advice I can give is to do something that you’re passionate about, something that will have a meaningful impact on society as a whole. Don’t give up. There will absolutely be lots of challenging times, but don’t let that discourage you. One of the two things that I’ve learned on my own journey is not to hesitate to ask for help or ask questions. And two, surround yourself with a supportive group of people.