When looking at a person’s success, people often pay attention to the outcome, not the journey, but in a recent conversation, renowned entrepreneur Sevetri Wilson spoke to the climb that led to the success she’s amassed today.
“This is a place where we talk about the climb,” Detavio Samuels, REVOLT CEO and host of “The Blackprint,” said ahead of a live taping for the podcast with special guest Wilson during the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture. “I think that specifically in the era of social media, where people always get to see the good or what looks like the good and then we cover that — and we want that — we don’t really understand what it took to get there.”
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He continued: “Arming our people with the information, the education, about how disruptors and innovators have truly gotten to the place that they are, is a gift that I hope can go on forever. I’m just there to let the entrepreneurs tell their own stories. So that they can control their own narrative and tell their story in the way that they want.”
For Wilson, her story begins with humble beginnings in rural Louisiana. Today, her company Resilia has raised nearly $50 million in venture capital funding, according to Crunchbase. As AfroTech previously reported, Resilia’s $35 million Series B funding round marked the “largest raise ever for a solo Black female-founded tech company.”
“My mother, although she had never been to college, nor had my father, always pressed upon us, education, right?” Wilson said. “When I’m getting educated by someone like you, or my teacher, whomever, it was always about this collective of individuals around us, educating us on how to be a better version of ourselves. And so, regardless of how much we had or did not have, right, as a first-generation college student, I always had that knowledge or insight to want to be curious.”
Losing Her 'Why'
What’s more, Wilson recalls the recovery process after losing her “why” and what the journey to success has looked like for her since then.
“Not only did I lose my father at a young age, I would also lose my mother a little bit later,” she explained. “As I would matriculate through college, my mother would get diagnosed with stage four cancer and she would pass away four days before Christmas. In my head, I’m thinking, I’m in college, I lost my father at this point, I lost my mother, and I was in my first semester of grad school. With all of the work I’d done up until that point, I was trying to have a career because I wanted to give my mother the life I felt she deserved but didn’t have. So, everything about why I wanted to be successful wasn’t really for me. It’s because I wanted to give my mother a better life.”
It was this moment that led Wilson to question what her own legacy would look like.
“I lost my ‘why’ early, right, during those critical years when you’re trying to already figure out life, but I started thinking, ‘Okay, what do I want my legacy to be?’ And that’s when I’m like, I didn’t really know what a legacy was just yet,” Wilson said.
At the age of 22, Wilson launched her first company, Solid Ground Innovations, based on the opportunity she had to work with athletes and other individuals within the philanthropic space, providing services such as PR, branding, and digital marketing.
After her experience with bootstrapping the first company to earning millions with no capital, Wilson also managed to launch her second business, Resilia, raising millions in venture capital.
Through the tech start-up that launched in 2016, she continues her work to “revolutionize how socially conscious leaders develop, maintain and grow the nonprofits, corporations, cities, and other enterprises they lead.”