Melissa Bradley is a dynamic investor leading a multi-billion-dollar initiative to uplift minority entrepreneurs.

She is the founder and managing partner of 1863 Ventures, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit accelerator and venture fund that began to realize its purpose once it veered away from a “one-size-fits-all” mindset, AFROTECH™ previously reported.

“Once we were able to identify what were the unique needs of each of those segments, then, we’ve now developed respectfully an award-winning set of programs around that, which has allowed us to generate over a billion dollars of new revenue by our businesses,” Bradley previously told AFROTECH™ at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in 2022. “We’ve created over 3,000 jobs in the last five years. And luckily, we had a 95% survival rate post-COVID for all of our businesses.”

Furthermore, among 1863 Ventures’ efforts is the 3Rs (Recovery, Rebuild, Resilience) business development program, which launched in 2021 to provide entrepreneurs with a live and online curated business development curriculum, as well as one-on-one business coaching. Additionally, the program was created to support participants with more than $850,000 in grant funding from Capital One and The Rockefeller Foundation.

“This program is important because Black businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the nation’s small business owners,” Bradley said in a press release at the time. “According to a report by the Center for Global Policy Solutions, ‘America is currently forgoing an estimated 1.1 million businesses owned by people of color because of past and present discrimination in American society. These missing businesses could produce an estimated 9 million more jobs and boost our national income by $300 billion.’ Investing in these businesses is not just a moral imperative but an economic one for Black communities and this country,”

1863 Ventures seeks to create $100 billion in wealth by 2030 for the “New Majority,” referring to Black and brown entrepreneurs. The firm’s portfolio features 90% Black-owned businesses, such as Harlem Candle Co., The Black Girl Doctor, and BatteryXchange Inc., as noted on its website.

Measuring real-time impact, 56% of its portfolio companies are profitable; 2,278 jobs have been created by its alumni; and $381.4 million in cumulative total revenue has been generated by alumni, according to data from its 2023 Impact Report. 

AFROTECH™ Future 50

We are thrilled to acknowledge Bradley as a Dynamic Investor for our AFROTECH™ Future 50 list.

To check out the full list, click here.