First Boulevard Bank, a digital bank aimed toward Black America, has announced that it’s raised $5 million in its initial seed funding round.
According to TechCrunch, the digital bank got its seed funding from a diverse group of investors that includes actress Gabrielle Union, Union Square Ventures’ John Buttrick, and AutoZone CFO Jamere Jackson.
Barclays and Anthemis rounded out the funding.
First Boulevard Bank — formerly known as Tenth — was co-founded by Donald Hawkins and Asya Bradley, who said that they were inspired to do so in the wake of the George Floyd murder, according to TechCrunch.
Hawkins also said that he was inspired to found First Boulevard Bank when he realized that the collective spending power of Black America was in the trillions, but that there were only 19 Black-owned banks in the United States with $5 billion in assets.
“And their technology was really behind the times,” Hawkins said, according to TechCrunch. “We also took a hard look at some of the existing digital banks to really see who was really going about it in the same way that we felt like America needed, and it was pretty clear at that point, that no one was really attacking the issue of helping Black America build some level of financial stability through the form of a wealth-building play.”
Most of all, Hawkins said, he was interested in supporting the Black community and Black-owned businesses, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, he created the exclusive Cash Back for Buying Black program, which gives the user a cashback reward each time they use their card to buy from a Black-owned business.
The company also recently announced a partnership with Visa, under which First Boulevard will be the first to pilot Visa’s new suite of crypto APIs. First Boulevard will also launch a First Boulevard Visa Debit card.