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Billionaire Jay-Z Just Participated In The $33M Investment Of This Beauty Brand

Jay-Z just backed premier beauty brand Madison Reed in an investment totaling $33 million, Forbes reports. The round was led by Sandbridge Capital and Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners also participated in the round. What’s more, the investment brings the San Francisco-based company’s total capital to nearly $220 million, according to Bloomberg.

Samantha Dorisca

Apr 29, 2022

This Startup Just Raised $31M To Become The Leading Provider Of Transportation Mobility In Africa

Metro Africa Xpress Inc. (MAX) plans to improve Africa’s transportation sector after securing $31 million in a Series B funding round. TechCrunch reports, the seed round was co-led by global private equity platform, Lightrock, and international venture capital firm, Global Ventures. Novastar Ventures and Proparco also participated in the round. The mobile tech startup launched in 2015, initially to complete customers’ orders. As the startup developed, it incorporated ride-hail services, vehicle subscriptions, and financing services. Three years after MAX’s inception, vehicle financing became an available service and CFO Guy-Bertrand Njoya revealed the company’s attrition rate is now “close to zero,” the outlet also revealed. “We spent time understanding drivers’ operations and it became apparent to us that most of them don’t own the vehicles they use,” said Njoya, according to TechCrunch. “It became clear that the fundamental issue that drivers face is consistent access to vehicles....

Samantha Dorisca

Dec 20, 2021

Kenyan Startup Wowzi Raises $3.2M To Land Social Media Influencers Campaigns

Kenyan-based startup Wowzi — created to transform social media users into brand influencers — has secured $3.2 million in its latest seed round. TechCrunch reports the round was led by Africa-focused venture capital firm 4DX Ventures. Participating investors were ​, Golden Palm Investments, LoftyInc Capital, Afropreneur Angels, and Future Africa. Andela co-founder Christina Sass, and former Andela executives Jessica Chervin, Justin Ziegler, as well as Johnny Falla, who is currently the chief development and growth officer at Wowzi, also participated. The new funds will spearhead operations in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa to fulfill the company’s goal to expand beyond their current scope of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. “We are primarily focused on expanding across Africa in 2022 and in other emerging markets globally,” Wowzi co-founder and CEO Brian Mogeni said, according to TechCrunch. “We are also adding new product capabilities and features, as we continue to develop our...

Samantha Dorisca

Dec 15, 2021

Nigerian Startup 54gene Raises $25M To Advance Genomic Research For The African Population

The African population offers greater genomic diversity in comparison to any other people group in the world, according to Science. Despite this, most genetic research is conducted in European countries, raising concerns for the integrity of medical research. This is why Nigerian-based startup 54gene is combatting the discrepancies in genomic research through its health technologies. The advancements will provide medical discoveries for the African population and the diaspora. To date, the genomic startup founded by Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong has collected over 300,000 genomic samples. The companies efforts will expand its medical discoveries thanks to $25 million raised in a Series B funding round, a press release states. The round was led by capital firm Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund and included Plexo Capital, KdT Ventures, Ingressive Capital, Adjuvant Capital, Endeavor Capital and more. The company’s promising impact on the future of drug and health research is drawing in...

Samantha Dorisca

Sep 16, 2021

Harlem Capital Leads $3.7 Seed Round For Inventory Optimization Platform Singuli

Harlem Capital, a diversity -focused venture capital firm, led a $3.7 million seed round for Singuli, according a press release provided to AfroTech. Founded in 2019 by Benjamin Kelly and Thierry Bertin-Mahieux, Singuli created an AI-powered platform that allows retailers to use consumer behavior to better inform inventory decisions. This seed round is the first major funding deal the company has closed, which includes participation from High Alpha Capital, AVG Basecamp Fund, existing investors Interlace Ventures and LAUNCH, as well as angel investors Paul Goodman and Darwish Gani. The fresh funding also includes a previously unannounced $700,000 pre-seed round. “Our mission is to provide commerce brands of all sizes with state of the art tools to make optimal inventory decisions,” Singuli co-founder and CEO Benjamin Kelly told AfroTech. “This is a gnarly space and there are lots of tricky problems.” Kelly was inspired to launch Singuli with Bertin-Mahieux after working as a data...

Michelai Graham

Jul 28, 2021

Inclusive Platform AboveBoard Goes Above And Beyond With $3M Seed Round

AboveBoard continues its mission to increase diversity in executive hiring. PR Newswire reports that the fastest-growing talent marketplace for senior executives has just closed its latest seed round with 91 percent of the outside funds from underrepresented investors. AboveBoard raised a $3 million seed round to continue its efforts to serve as an inclusive platform for executive placement that increases the representation of Black, Latinx, and female professionals on boards and at the C-suite/VP level. “It was important to us to raise this round from investors who are underrepresented,” said Lucinda Duncalfe , AboveBoard’s founder and CEO in an official press release. “We have a powerful group that reflects our mission and I’m grateful for their support and investment in our vision. I couldn’t be more pleased with the investor group we brought together to support the company’s growth” Thanks to the Commune Angels investor group, other investors like Angeles Investors were inspired...

Shanique Yates

Jul 14, 2021

Dallas Company 'You Go Natural' Headwraps Raises $2M Seed To Expand And Innovate The Beauty Market

The natural haircare beauty market will soon have a new go-to source for its next innovation. Black women-owned beauty brand You Go Natural (YGN) headwraps has announced the close of a $2 million seed funding round as it looks to expand its operations. According to a press release shared with AfroTech, the funding round was led by Brand Foundry Venture Partners as well as other investors such as Capital Factory, Willow Growth Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. YGN has shared that its next plan of action for the funds includes the round expanding its Dallas-based production facility from 1,500 to 7,500 square feet and growing its staff to reach over 100 employees. “As a Black female founder, I have unique market insight into the world of ethnic beauty,” founder Monique Little shared in a statement. “I know where the industry is way oversaturated, and I know where there are gaps in innovation and solutions that have yet to be introduced. The vision of YGN goes way beyond...

Njera Perkins

Apr 22, 2021

Nigerian Fintech Startup Afriex Raises $1.2M Seed to Scale Its Payments Platform Across Africa

Several reports have shared just how difficult it is to send money overseas, but when the destination is Africa it can be an even bigger burden to deal with limited options, transfer fees and extended processing periods. To help resolve this issue, Lagos and San Francisco-based fintech startup Afriex — a Summer 2020 Y Combinator-backed company — launched a digital payments platform to provide instant, zero-fee money transfers to Africans at home and in the diaspora. Today, it announced a raise of a $1.2 million seed round to continue scaling its platform across the African continent, according to TechCrunch. The round was led by Pan-African VC firm Launch Africa, with participation from other investors such as Y Combinator, SoftBank Opportunity Fund, Future Africa, Brightstone VC, Processus Capital, Uncommon Ventures, A$AP Capital, Precursor Ventures, and Ivernet Holdings. Angel investors for the round included Russell Smith, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon, Furqan Rydhan, and Andrea...

Njera Perkins

Mar 23, 2021

Workspace Startup WorkChew Raises $2.5M Seed to Innovate the Hospitality Industry

WorkChew — a Black women-founded startup that transforms hotels and restaurants into on-demand workspaces — just announced an oversubscribed $2.5 million seed funding round raised to further the company’s mission. The round was led by Harlem Capital and saw participation from other VC firms such as Wilshire Lane Partners, Invictus Advisory Group, Techstars Ventures, and RW Capital Investments, Inc. Additionally, individual investments came from angel investors, including Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia, Etsy co-founder Chris Maguire, Kyle Tibbits of Paradox Capital, and Alex Chan, formerly of UBER. The startup plans to use the new funding to further build out its team, product development, and marketing to help increase customer acquisition and build supply across the U.S. WorkChew was co-founded by CEO Maisha Burt and COO Allyson McDougal back in 2018, who at the time were two remote workers suffering from inconsistencies of not having flexible spaces to work from. According to...

Njera Perkins

Mar 17, 2021

Toy Company Healthy Roots Dolls Raises $1M Seed to Represent the Beauty of Diversity and Representation

Toy company Healthy Roots Dolls established itself as a brand creating representation for all children with their line of products. Now it’s raised a $1 million seed round to expand on its offerings and continue to spread the beauty of diversity. The seed funding round was led by Backstage Capital, and accompanied by other investment groups such as Lightship Capital, Broadway Angels, Alpha Bridge, The Community Fund, Sequoia Scout as well as a group of individuals, including Sahil Lavingia. To date, Healthy Roots Dolls has raised a total of $1.5 million, which includes funds from grants, pitch competitions, accelerator programs and crowdfunding, according to founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles. During an interview with Crunchbase News, Brittany Davis — a principal at Backstage Capital — shared that she initially met Jean-Charles during her firm’s Backstage Accelerator program and was one of Healthy Roots Dolls’ first investors. “We’ve seen her since Day One be heads down and focused on the...

Njera Perkins

Feb 18, 2021

Hurdle Raises $5M Seed Round to Extend Its Tech-Based Mental Health Platform to Black Communities

Over the last year, we’ve greatly stressed the importance of prioritizing mental health in Black communities due to our history of pushing those issues aside. Now, tele-therapy company Hurdle is extending its platform to remove those barriers for Black and people of color. According to a press release, Hurdle — an innovative digital mental health platform — has announced today that it closed a $5 million Series Seed funding round co-led by 406 Ventures and Seae Ventures with participation from F-Prime. Hurdle plans to use this new capital to strategically-scale its tech-enabled platform to help provide support for culturally diverse populations’ behavioral health needs, especially in Black communities. “With depression spiking in Black and minority communities, this year is an inflection point in mental healthcare. The events of 2020 present a unique opportunity for Hurdle to create solutions that work for anyone, but most importantly, for the most underserved populations,” said...

Njera Perkins

Jan 25, 2021

African Supply Chain Sote Raises $3M Seed Round to Build Digital Logistics Infrastructure For Continent

Global logistics — which is the process of managing the flow of goods through the supply chain — is a trillion-dollar industry that’s in dire need of a technological overhaul, with Africa nearing the top of the list. Africa plays a huge role in transporting goods all around the world and requires a great deal of coordination between commercial and government sectors. As the logistics system spans across languages, borders and customs, it also requires much assistance from a host of tech-based platforms as well. Thanks to the business model of African supply-chain-focused company Sote , the continent’s narrative of being a rising global competitor has potential to grow as it ushers itself more into the tech space. The company — co-founded by Felix Orwa and Meka Este-McDonald — has launched Africa’s first licensed tech-enabled customs clearing and forwarding service in order to build its digital logistics infrastructure up. Moreover, today Sote announced that it has raised a $3...

Njera Perkins

Nov 12, 2020

Startup Malomo Raises $2.8M Seed Round, Largest By a Black Founder in Indiana to Date

Malomo — a Black-founded information technology startup company that specializes in e-commerce — announced that it raised a $2.8 million seed round today to expand its services and provide a new marketing channel for the Shopify retailers, TechCrunch reports . Financing for the round was led by San Francisco-based firm, Base10 Partners , as well as New York’s Harlem Capital . According to Harlem Capital, the announcement comes as “the largest Seed round by a Black founder in Indiana to date.” We are excited to announce our investment in @gomalomo $2.8mm Seed round, the largest Seed round by a Black founder in Indiana to date. The round was led by three underrepresented funds with us, @Base10Partners and @VitalizeVC — Harlem Capital (@HarlemCapital) October 2, 2020 Founder and CEO Yaw Aning shared that this funding round will help the startup resolve issues retail clients experience when working with shipping companies and offer a better customer experience....

Njera Perkins

Oct 2, 2020

Johnson & Johnson Invests in Luxury Black-Owned Haircare Brand Sunday II Sunday

Black haircare has proven to be a billion-dollar industry for years with more and more Black businesses prioritizing products and services catering to all hair types. Sunday II Sunday — an award-winning Black-owned luxury haircare brand — is one of those businesses that’s helping to address Black women’s biggest hair problems, with the help of some big investors. The recently launched brand — founded by Keenan Beasley of Infinite Looks, Inc. — has caught the attention of Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest healthcare company, to invest a reported “seven figure sum,” according to Global Cosmetics News . Black Enterprise reports Sunday II Sunday has announced a seed financing round that will include funds from both Johnson & Johnson Innovation Studio and Ignite Venture Studio. According to Elizabeth Wu — Consumer External Innovation & Transactions Manager at Johnson & Johnson — the healthcare company predicts its investment will address “an unmet need in the multicultural hair care...

Njera Perkins

Sep 23, 2020

Black Founder of the U.S.’s First Online Zero-Waste Grocery Store Raises $4.7M in Funding

There’s a growing movement of zero-waste grocery companies in America building toward a sustainable future that will ultimately eliminate packaging waste. Zero Grocery — the U.S.’s first online zero-waste grocery store which also happens to be Black-owned — has established this same goal to remove single-use plastics from our food system. Courtesy of Zero Grocery Aligned with their overall mission to prioritize a cleaner, healthier future, the e-commerce company announced today that they’ve successfully closed a $3 million seed round, raising their total capital to $4.7 million, a blog post reports . Funds from this round come from a large group of investors that include, but are not limited to — Marlon Nichols of MaC Venture Capital, Arlan Hamilton, City Light, Forward Venture Capital, Gaingels, Incite, Luma Launch, and 1984, who provided the biggest check of them all. Since Zero Grocery’s inception, founder Zuleyka Strasner has tirelessly championed the company’s sustainability...

Njera Perkins

Sep 23, 2020