As the founder and CEO at Upsie, Clarence Bethea has the magic sauce when it comes to securing funding.

During the latest episode of AfroTech’s Black Tech Green Money (BTGM), he shares how he managed to raise an $18.2 million funding round thanks to his perseverance. He also breaks down what Silicon Valley looks like for Black companies and founders — an experience that surely came with lessons.

“I remember we had like 80 Silicon Valley investors there and it was a hard lesson for me to learn,” he shared about one particular experience with the Village Capital program. “They didn’t give a damn about me and it was clear that I meant nothing to them. I was just a Black guy in the room.”

Clarence Bethea also recalls a sobering experience with an investor during his time in the program.

“I actually had an investor say to me, ‘Clarence, I’ve never seen a Black founder go to exit or IPO at like a billion-plus exit. So, I just have a hard time believing that a Black founder can build a big company. So, I’m just not interested,’” he tells BTGM host Will Lucas. “It was sobering.”

Now, as the founder and CEO of his own technology company, which offers consumers an alternative way to purchase extended warranties for electronics like mobile devices and home appliances, Bethea has certainly proved investors, like the previously mentioned, wrong.

“When people were telling me, especially early in the journey, that I would never do this or never do that, in my mind I’m like ‘okay, I’m going to show you,’” he continued. “I’m actually getting out of that phase now [at this point] in the journey because everyone seems to believe that we can do what we can do now. But, early on in the journey, I would use that as motivation.”

Find out how Clarence Bethea not only used the naysayers as motivation, but also about how he is now motivating Black founders across the nation through his success on the full episode of Black Tech Green Money below.