From the beginning of Broad Street Ventures’ (BSV) inception in 2020, Malcolm Jenkins has been dedicated to creating a space for Black and brown women in the venture capital (VC) industry.
Among the goals for BSV — a $10 million investment vehicle funded entirely by Black and brown investors including a small group of fellow NFL players — is prioritizing backing the underrepresented group. Jenkins has continuously watched their relentless work that moves mountains across sectors alongside BSV’s Co-founder and General Partner Ralonda Johnson.
Jenkins credits Johnson as the disruptor and mastermind behind the success the first-of-its-kind fund’s investment portfolio — which includes Airbnb, Epic Games, Dapper Labs, Turo, and more — has seen in less than two years.
“I’ve always been one to bet on women and put women in spots of positions of leadership,” Jenkins told AfroTech in an interview. “Ralonda Johnson has been a lifelong, good friend of mine, who’s the one kind of pulling the trigger on all the deals. She’s the reason we had that successful year and she’s pulling more people into the fund — more black women. All of that is done off of Ralonda’s back. So, for us, we like to fly that banner in putting [Black and brown women] in front hoping that it sets an example or trend for others that are watching.”
Through the two co-founders’ relentless commitment, BSV is continuing to keep its word of granting Black and brown female investors access to deals alongside the top 20 VCs to ultimately build generational wealth. With that said, the fund has announced entertainment executives India Robinson and Sara “Lovestyle” Hood as its new investors, according to a press release shared with AfroTech. Additionally, BSV has shared its final slate of new early, growth, and late-stage tech and consumer products including Instacart, Heliogen, and Papa.
“I hope that we are setting a new trend for people who look like us to start to pull that money together to sit in those seats of ownership and to collaborate with the deals,” Jenkins said of his aspirations for the VC space. “Because what makes our funds special is that one, it’s Black-led, but it also still has the top quality deals that are out there. It’s not just doing business with your own people. We’ve figured out through our networks how to get aligned with those great deals and still keep our leadership and equity. It’s just about living that example and hopefully others who look like us see it, recognize it, and follow it.”
Creating A Seat At The Table
After her first meeting with Johnson, Hood’s segue into joining BSV came organically as her own mission is in unison with the fund’s mission — especially with her decade-long career in the sports and entertainment industry.
Now under the new collaboration, the lifestyle entrepreneur wants for her story to empower women, such as mothers like herself, to feel represented in that they can also be a part of the movement of breaking barriers and building generational wealth.
“My hope is that a woman looks at me and says, ‘I can do that too,'” Hood shared. “The scariest part about going into a new venture is because we’re not a lot in the room — 1% of Black women are in venture capital. But my hope is that we hold the door open for more women and access to building generational wealth, as well as understanding financial literacy. I’ve spent a long time in fintech, CPG and ed tech and doing due diligence. We can do this. It is accessible.
She continued: “And there isn’t this idea of ‘Why it cannot be me?’ it’s ‘Why can’t it? Why not?’ — that’s the message that I’m hoping to inspire to another woman because Malcolm quickly established himself as a great entrepreneur off the field and who wouldn’t wanna join that venture. And my hope is that we can do the same thing for other women.”
What's Next For BSV
“The next step is gonna be the second fund and then doing it on a larger stage,” Jenkins said. “It was an important step for us to really get that credibility, push out the education, actually have some success, and let people know we’re not just here to get your money. We’re really trying to get it done.”
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.