When Brandon and Janine met on social media, they immediately bonded over their passion for supporting underrepresented founders. Janine had already been investing in women and Black founders, and Brandon had dreams of launching a $10 million fund to do the same. Eventually, they decided to join forces to launch their shared dream: a venture capital firm that invests in typically overlooked founders.
Enter, Overlooked Ventures.
Brandon and Janine recently announced their intention to raise a $50 million fund through their new firm Overlooked Ventures. In addition to soliciting support from traditional investors, they are opening up their fundraising to the public.
“The people that have the most power are the community members and the founders in that community. And if the community believes in you and gets behind you like we’ve seen that they do at Overlooked Ventures, anything’s possible,” Brandon explains of their philosophy.
Brandon and Janine are even more unconventional in their approach to considering startups for investments. Janine is based in Colombus, OH, and Brandon is based in South Carolina. They view their non-traditional bases as another strength, as it allows them to engage on a deeper level with tech ecosystems outside of traditional tech bubbles, such as Raleigh, NC or Greenville, SC.
They also never require a startup to travel to their locations to pitch them.
“The vast majority of our pitches and our investments are gonna come from doing Zoom calls, doing Google meets, doing phone calls. We do not want founders to feel like they have to spend money to come to see us to pitch us on a maybe,” Brandon explains.
Brandon and Janine are also committed to ensuring that investors share their values and vision.
“We don’t want the founders to feel like at any moment, that they’re taking money from someone who doesn’t really believe in them [are] just throwing money out there for PR,” Brandon said.”We are doing our due diligence on our investors as well.”
For the Overlooked team, it’s about supporting founders in all aspects of the journey, not just financially, and they are looking for investors who are committed to doing the same.