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After Clarence Bethea Used Silicon Valley Naysayers As Motivation, His Startup Closed An $18.2M Funding Round

As the founder and CEO at Upsie, Clarence Bethea has the magic sauce when it comes to securing funding. During the latest episode of AfroTech’s Black Tech Green Money (BTGM), he shares how he managed to raise an $18.2 million funding round thanks to his perseverance. He also breaks down what Silicon Valley looks like for Black companies and founders — an experience that surely came with lessons. “I remember we had like 80 Silicon Valley investors there and it was a hard lesson for me to learn,” he shared about one particular experience with the Village Capital program. “They didn’t give a damn about me and it was clear that I meant nothing to them. I was just a Black guy in the room.” Clarence Bethea also recalls a sobering experience with an investor during his time in the program. “I actually had an investor say to me, ‘Clarence, I’ve never seen a Black founder go to exit or IPO at like a billion-plus exit. So, I just have a hard time believing that a Black founder can build a big...

Sep 7, 2021

Consumer Warranty Startup Upsie Raises $18.2M In Series A Round

Upsie, a consumer warranty startup led by Clarence Bethea, has raised $18.2 million in a Series A round led by True Ventures, according to a press release. The St. Paul, MN-based startup’s mission is to provide affordable and reliable warranties for electronic devices. Other notable Venture Capital (VC) firms and angel investors also participated in the round, including Concrete Rose VC, Avanta Ventures (CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer), Kapor Capital, Samsung Next, Massive, Backstage Capital, Awesome People Ventures, Imagination Capital, Uncommon VC, Marc Belton, Daren Cotter (Founder and CEO of InboxDollars), George Azih (Founder and CEO of LeaseQuery), Richard Parsons, and several others. Upsie was born out of frustration with the expensive warranties consumers are often offered with their electronic device purchases. “Oftentimes when you walk into that big box store, they’re charging you so much money. They’re charging as high as 900% more than they should,” Bethea explained...

May 13, 2021