Black Ops Ventures, a Black-owned VC fund, has announced that it has closed its first fund with investments totaling $13 million. And, thanks to this fund closing, the company has announced its intent to exclusively back outstanding Black tech founders in the United States and Canada.
According to a press release, “In securing investments for this initial close, Black Ops relied upon long-standing relationships with some of the most respected names in the tech industry.” Some of those names include Blavity, Inc. CEO Morgan DeBaun, Drew Houston, Jacob Gibson, Ben Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Jeff Bussgang.
Bank of America and Northwestern Mutual led the fundraising round, according to the press release.
“We are part of this community of Black founders, with better access to deal flow than other venture investors, regardless of their cultural background,” said James Norman, partner, in the press release.
Norman is also the founder of Pilotly and co-founder of Transparent Collective, a non-profit program that helps underrepresented founders gain access to the resources they need to scale their tech companies.
“Transparent Collective helped Black founders raise more than $50 million in early-stage funding. With Black Ops Ventures, we can use our track record of identifying outstanding Black-led companies and bring capital to scale these companies to success,” he said.
Founded in 2020, Black Ops Ventures boasts a team of all-Black founders, making it the first VC fund of its kind. When looking for companies to invest in, the fund says they are looking for people who are resilient, have a unique perspective on their market, and possess the conviction to win their space.
How Many Black Founders Have Been Backed by Venture Capital?
According to theblackfounderlist.com, fewer than 420 Black founders have ever been backed by venture capital, while more than 8,000 founders receive venture funding every year. This lack of access to funding and opportunity for Black founders not only hurts the growth of their companies, it also denies everyone access to technologies with the potential to change lives.
Statement from Heather Hiles, Managing Partner:
“I am eager to address the tremendous disparity among startups moving from seed funding to Series A capital. I have advised and met with hundreds of Black founders. I know first-hand there is an abundance of talented and overlooked startups in the marketplace. I have watched dozens grow and many more struggle throughout the years. There is no lack of high-quality, Black-led companies. There is only a lack of access to capital.”