Five Black-Led VC Firms to Watch
Photo Credit: Marlon Nichols / AfroTech
The diversity numbers in venture capital (VC) are even worse than the numbers in tech as a whole. According to Tech Crunch, 81 percent of VC firms don’t have any Black investors at all. A study released by Harvard in 2017, indicated that women have accounted for less than 10 percent of the entrepreneurial and venture capital labor pool from 1990-2016 with about two percent having been Hispanics, and less than one percent African Americans.
A more recent Stanford study indicates that even successful Black VCs have a tougher time in the industry than their white counterparts. Here are five Black VC making a mark:
1. BLCK VC
According to their website, “BLCK VC was formed to connect, engage, empower, and advance Black venture investors by providing a focused community built for and by Black venture investors.” Their goal is to increase the number of Black venture capitalists from 200 to 400 by 2024. BLCK helps VC firms incorporate effective diversity and inclusion practices in their recruitment processes.
2. Backstage Capital
When building the company, Backstage Capital’s founder Arlan Hamilton focused on “minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT.” According to their website, they’ve invested over $7 million in startups led by founders from underrepresented groups. Backstage’s portfolio includes CurlMix, Swivel Beauty, and Career Karma.
3. MaC Venture Capital
A merger between Crossculture Ventures and M Ventures created MaC Venture Capital. According to their website, they are focused “on finding ideas, technology, and products that can become infectious.”Their executive team includes an impressive lineup of women and people of color who have previous success in different areas of the tech industry.
4. Harlem Capital
Led by four Black men investors, Harlem Capital is “on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years.” The Harlem Capital team started as angel investors; however, they debuted their VC fund in December 2019, with $40.3 million raised.
Founded by Adeyemi Ajao and TJ Nahigian, Base10 raised $137 million when it debuted in 2018. They focus on helping AI-focused startups intelligently navigate the very human implications of their products and service. Their portfolio includes The Pill Club, Shipwell, and WeTravel, among many others.
Editorial note: Harlem Capital and Cross Culture Ventures are investors of Blavity, Inc., the company that owns the AfroTech brand.