Cincinnati-based venture capital firm, Lightship Capital, is on a mission to raise $50 million to invest in underrepresented founders from the Midwest area.
The Black-owned firm is headed by investing power couple, Candice Matthews Brackeen and Brian Brackeen, who both have one goal in mind — to invest in the next wave of innovative entrepreneurs that have been overlooked by other investors.
The lack of startup funding for women and people of color has been highlighted in recent years via studies like digitalundivided’s ProjectDiane, which reports Black women-led startups raised only 0.0006 percent of the $424.7 billion in tech venture funding raised since 2009.
In light of the known disproportional funding opportunities, Lightship’s General Partner, Candice, believes founders of color are worth investing in.
“I’m a capitalist at heart. There’s market failure. You can really take advantage of it,” she said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In the midst of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Candice feels this is an era that could propel overlooked entrepreneurs forward as more companies are financially backing Black founders.
“I see these periods of time as when the current is stronger,” she said.
In addition to the $22 million raised for its Lightship Capital Fund I, the firm also has $23 million in commitments and is planning its second fund. Fund I investors included Delta Dental, a dental insurance company, as well as SecondMuse, a company that organizes hackathons and startup accelerators.
Lightship’s first investment will be in FreshFry LLC, a Kentucky-based company that offers frying oil purification solutions via its Freshfry Pods that are distributed via Sysco Corp.
Lightship funds will be allocated through its Hillman Accelerator program with $250,000 going to each company.
Click here for more information on Lightship Capital.