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VC Funding To Black-Founded US Startups Reportedly Hit $705M In 2023 — The First Time The Number Fell Short Of $1B Since 2016

The state of venture capital (VC) funding for startups in the United States paints a concerning picture for Black entrepreneurs.

Michelle Burk

Feb 29, 2024

Jay-Z-Backed Food-Tech Marketplace Hungry Reaches $270M Valuation

Hungry — founded by Eman Pahlavani, Shy Pahlevani, and Jeff Grass — is adding more heavy-hitter investors to its roster.  

Shanique Yates

Jun 15, 2023

Op-Ed: Why Investing In Black Entrepreneurs Is A Must For VCs In Today's Business Landscape

Editorial Note: Opinions are the writer’s own and not those of AfroTech. There is a persistent myth that investing in Black businesses is a charitable endeavor rather than a profitable one. In fact, almost twice as much money is donated to BIPOC focused nonprofits vs. invested in BIPOC founded startups. This myth assumes that Black entrepreneurs are not capable of producing the same level of returns as their white counterparts. However, research has shown that investing in Black-owned businesses can be extremely lucrative. A report by McKinsey & Company found that companies with diverse executive teams are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than those without diversity. Furthermore, a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that companies with Black CEOs receive higher valuations than those with white CEOs. Despite these findings, Black founders continue to face significant obstacles when it comes to securing funding. In 2022, only 1% of all venture...

Keenan Beasley

May 18, 2023

Report Shows Black Investors Are Laying The Foundation For A More Inclusive VC Industry, But They Could Use Some Help

BLCK VC, a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing the presence of Black investors in the venture capital (VC) industry, has recently released its annual edition of the State of Black Venture Report in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank. The report, released on Feb. 22, sheds light on the current state of the Black venture ecosystem, analyzing various trends in leadership and representation within the industry.

Samantha Dorisca

Mar 2, 2023

The Roots' Black Thought Joins Impellent Ventures As A General Partner

Black Thought is prepared to take his talents into venture capital (VC). In 1987, the rapper — whose real name is Tariq Trotter — formed The Roots band alongside Questlove in their hometown of Philadelphia, PA. According to HipHopDX, Black Thought has announced his role as a general partner at Impellent Ventures, a new fund that is centered around equity. He and the team aim to recruit and encourage other entrepreneurs as they begin their journeys to scaling and growing their new businesses. “I’ve been keeping an eye on the industry and looking for new ways to invest and diversify my portfolio,” said the 50-year-old emcee in an official statement. “I also get to see a lot of investment opportunities before anyone else does because of what my brand means to founders.” Excited to officially announce our newest partner here at Impellent… welcome @blackthought ! — Impellent Ventures (@ImpellentVC) July 15, 2022

Shanique Yates

Jul 20, 2022

The Black Currency And Neotribe To Award Thousands Of Dollars In Prize Money To Winners Of Virtual Pitch Competition

The Black dollar has consistently proved its power. From the impact of the historic community in Tulsa, OK, to the current cultural impact on the economy – there is no doubt that the Black dollar is a powerful and influential tool. This power is leveraged even more with the uptick in Black and minority entrepreneurship. Kwame Egerton II, the co-founder of Black Currency, understands this concept and partnered with venture capital company, Neotribe to create a pitch competition that would ultimately support minority-owned businesses. The Black Currency x Neotribe Virtual Pitch Competition will award participants a total of $6,000 in prize money. The aim is to create a space that cultivates growth in an environment where it’s difficult to raise funding due to macroeconomic conditions. “The Black Currency is happy to partner with Neotribe Venture Capital to help bring our virtual pitch competition for small minority-owned businesses to life. As a small business owner myself, I...

Josh Rodgers

Jul 19, 2022

Zigazoo, A Serena Williams-Backed Social Network For Children, Secures The NBA As An Investor In $17M Raise

Safe spaces for people to be vulnerable and transparent are not just for adults. Children also need these type of spaces to cultivate their growth and maturity. In 2020, Zak and Leah Ringelstein created one of those spaces for children by founding Zigazoo, a Serena Williams-backed startup.

Josh Rodgers

Jul 1, 2022

Base10 Partners And Robert F. Smith's Student Freedom Initiative Join Forces To Decrease Barriers In Accessing Capital For HBCUs

A leading Black firm in venture capital is working with one of today’s top Black founders. According to a press release, Base10 Partners and Robert F. Smith’s Student Freedom Initiative have joined to provide Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with more access to venture capital.

Ngozi Nwanji

Jun 15, 2022

2 Chainz May Be Starting His Own Venture Capital Fund

College Park native and trap music aficionado, 2 Chainz, is putting the world on notice that he is more than trap beats and creative bars. In collaboration with Memphis rapper and producer Juicy J, 2 Chainz invested $2 billion in a solar energy merger Summer of 2021. In addition to this investment in sustainability, the Grammy-nominated artist has a restaurant and tapas bar in Atlanta, GA. Plus, he has a nail salon, a cannabis line, and several other thriving businesses. As if his hands were not packed with all of this, 2 Chainz posted that the time to level up has come via his Instagram page.

Josh Rodgers

Apr 21, 2022

Why M25 Invests In Companies Like Plant-Based Hair Startup Rebundle And More At Their Early Stages

There’s more to diversity than meets the eye and vegan hair extension company, Rebundle is proof of that. However, what is just as important is the team that is willing to invest in the vision of Black founders, providing them with the tools needed to not only survive but also to thrive. M25 is the early-stage venture firm dedicated to supporting startups located in the Midwest, providing them with the tools needed to not only survive but thrive within an industry that was not built with them in mind. “Supporting women founders is important everywhere, regardless of the region, but I do think we have an amazing opportunity in regions like the Midwest,” said M25 VC Partner Mike Asem in an email interview with AfroTech. “As many point out that ecosystems like the Bay Area have matured whereas ecosystems like the Midwest are still emerging, maturing, etc. We have a unique opportunity to write diversity into our ecosystem’s entrepreneurial DNA better, and earlier, than more mature ones...

Shanique Yates

Mar 16, 2022

Debut Capital Launches Investor-In-Residence Program With An Inaugural Class Of Women Athletes

Some of the world’s greatest women athletes are embarking on the investment arena. On a mission to inspire non-traditional investors, early-stage venture capital firm Debut Capital is launching its first-ever Investor-in-Residence Program for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous founders. The first cohort will include some notable names such as four-time Olympic Track & Field Gold Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, three-time Track & Field Olympian Medalist Lauryn Williams, four-time All-Star, and WNBA Champion Chelsea Gray, and 2021 WNBA Champion Lexie Brown. The inaugural class will partake in a six-week program to learn from individuals in venture capital. According to the press release, topic points will include generating deal flow, portfolio construction, and post-investment support. The cohort will have access to an investment total of $100,000. Debut Capital’s class of professional women athletes is “a way to begin closing the gap between them and their male athlete counterparts.” “The...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 10, 2022

Equity Alliance Raises $28.6M To Invest In Woman-Led, Minority-Led Venture Funds

Equity Alliance, led by former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, has announced that it has closed a $28.6 million fund, which they say they will use to invest in other woman-led and minority-led funds. According to The Wall Street Journal, the “fund of funds” is aiming to provide both a professional network and a mentoring program for the funds it intends to back. “It’s easier to open doors,” Parsons said to the outlet. “What we have to figure out is how to take this favorable mentality that is existing and create mechanisms that enable us to deploy capital in a successful way, so we make a lasting change in the economic spectrum.” Equity Alliance notably invested in Esusu, a Black-owned fintech company. As AfroTech previously reported, Esusu reached a $1B valuation in January 2022, and they said they wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of Equity Alliance. “It’s like chatting with people you know have your best interest at heart,” said Abbey Wemimo, Esusu’s...

Report Says African Startups Raised $1M Every Two Hours In 2021

The African startup economy is growing faster than the global economy. Last year, various African startups celebrated wins displayed in dollar signs. There was a slew of high-performing investment rounds which included uLesson ($15M), Metro Africa Xpress Inc. ($31M), and MFS Africa ($100M). We could certainly go on but those numbers are proof that African startups are growing at a rate we have not seen before. According to a LinkedIn posting by Founders Factory Africa’s Accelerator Lead Nicole Dunn, it was said that African startups raised $1 million every two hours in 2021 with a total of $4.9 billion invested in African startups. Now more than ever, investments are soaring in Africa. Here is why.

Samantha Dorisca

Jan 24, 2022

Fintech Startup Finclusion Raises $20M With An Intention To Expand Its Operations Throughout Africa

Africa continues to be a prime destination for digital banking! According to TechCrunch, Finclusion Group, the company using AI technology to provide African customers with financial services, has raised $20 million in a debt and equity pre-Series A financing round. The move comes on the heels of the emergence of neobanks that continue to grow at rapid rates in various countries within the continent.

Shanique Yates

Jan 21, 2022