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Private Equity Fund Alitheia Raises $100M To Support 'Gender-Diverse Businesses' In Africa

Women-focused private equity fund Alitheia IDF has raised $100 million to support “gender-diverse businesses” in Africa. This news follows just one year after raising $75 million, TechCrunch reports. Participating investors include the African Development Bank, Bank of Industry Nigeria, FinDev Canada, Dutch Good Growth Fund, and the European Investment Bank. Closing the round, European Investment Bank (EIB) committed $24.6 million. The goal of the funding is to combat the present financial gap for women-led businesses in the continent. According to a report, “Female single founders and female-only founding teams have raised less than 1% of the total raised on the continent this year so far.” “Globally, women have tremendous purchasing power as consumers and controllers of household economics. In the same vein, women entrepreneurs have a significant presence in Africa’s SME sector with African women making up 58% of the continent’s self-employed population. However, despite this...

Dec 16, 2021

Black and Latinx Women Founders Need More VC Support, digitalundivided's Report Finds

Following the racial justice movement last year, there was an uptick in venture capital deals for minority women founders, but has that support been sustained? This New Jersey-based nonprofit has the facts to show that it hasn’t. Founded in 2012, digitalundivided is a nonprofit organization that offers community and resources to Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. The nonprofit recently released the first update on its ProjectDiane report, a demographic study that details Black and Latinx women founders and the startups they lead. The nonprofit began working on its biennial ProjectDiane report in 2016, with the most recent report publishing last year. The ProjectDiane 2021 Update assesses data from the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Digitalundivided debuted the most recent findings at its undivided We Rise virtual summit last month. “Studies show that Covid-19 alone has sped up digital transformation by 5.3 years,” digitalundivided CEO Lauren Maillian said...

Jun 3, 2021

3 Black Beauty Founders Selected for Sephora Women's Business Accelerator

Sephora is not just the beauty mecca where women go to spend their money shamelessly on Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath. The personal care retailer is also responsible for helping to accelerate Black beauty founders’ innovative ideas through Sephora Accelerate. Sephora Accelerate is a six-month program designed to build a community of forward-thinking businesswomen. The commitment begins with a one-week boot camp, then the founders experience a series of mentoring sessions and business challenges. The entire initiative culminates into Demo Day, where participants present their company to gain investments. This year, Sephora Accelerate has selected 13 founders for the 2020 cohort , including women from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, Singapore, Germany, the U.S., and the U.K. Among those selected to participate in the accelerator are Kymberlee Hill, a co-founder of Curl IQ; Helena Mendes, founder of Mawena; and Dawn Myers, founder of THE MOST. To date, the accelerator has...

Mar 11, 2020

Promise Founder Phaedra Lamkins is Tackling the Prison System Head On

As incarceration rates continue to climb, one startup is working to re-assimilate former prisoners back into society. Founded in San Francisco, Promise uses apps, text messages, and a data platform to help prevent overcrowding in jails. The company works with cities and governments to release non-violent offenders from their bail obligations and provides a way for individuals to keep up with their court dates. Promise Co-Founder Phaedra Lamkins’ inspiration for Promise came after her friend needed help keeping a family member out of jail. The relative missed a court hearing and wanted to avoid jail time. Within a few calls, the problem was solved and the idea for Promise was born. AfroTech talked to Lamkins about challenges she’s faced launching her startup and advice she has for other people looking to start their own companies. AfroTech: What has been your biggest challenge as a founder? Phaedra Lamkins: My biggest challenge has been not moving quickly enough. There is always a...

Dec 5, 2019

Spotlist Wants to be the Next On-Demand Service Platform

If you want groceries delivered to your door, you might choose between Amazon Fresh or Instacart. If you want to book a last-minute appointment with a beautician or a makeup artist, you might turn to StyleSeat. Spotlist, Inc. wants to be the one-stop-shop for various kinds of services so that customers never have to leave the house for their needs. The on-demand New Jersey-based platform is set to provide services across industries whether customers are in need of a makeover, a new hairdo, deliveries, or in-home massage. Spotlist, Inc., founder and CEO, Jae Pesante began developing her idea for the company while caring for her father, who was healing from surgery. “I always tell people that Spotlist wasn’t a company I came up with sitting around thinking of a way to make money. My father suffers from heart disease, and after his defibrillator surgery, he couldn’t drive,” Pesante said. “He told me that he wished he could have someone to service him at home.” Spotlist allows users to...

Nov 20, 2019

Amazon's Latest Grant Will Help Increase the Number of Women in Tech

Amazon is helping fund 24 women in the United Kingdom who are interested in tech. The company launched Amazon Amplify, a series of initiatives aimed at assisting underrepresented groups in entering the tech industry. As part of the initiative, Amazon U.K. is also launching Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The grant will fund 24 women, and each participant will receive £130,000 (about $170,000) a year to fund their startup. “Diversity fosters greater innovation and helps raise the bar for customers, and having a diverse workforce is also just the right thing to do,” Fiona McDonnell, Director of Consumer Retail at Amazon, said in a statement. McDonnell also serves as chair of the cross-industry Women in Innovation Advisory Committee. The U.K.’s tech industry has been on a steady climb. According to a report by Tech Nation , 25 percent of the world’s entrepreneurs say that they have two or more relationships in London. From 2014 to 2017,...

Mar 9, 2019

CES Revokes Innovation Award For A Sex Tech, Women's Health Startup

Lora DiCarlo, a women-focused sex-tech company, was supposed to receive an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but t he Consumer Technology Association (CTA), stripped the company of its award after determining that the company’s Osé robot did not fit into any of the award’s product categories. Lora DiCarlo’s Osé is a hands-free, micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers. “The product referenced does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program,” Samantha Doherty, CTA spokeswoman said. “CES does not have a category for sex toys. CTA had communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo nearly two months ago and we have apologized to them for our mistake.” The CTA also cited its rules stating, “Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be...

Jan 10, 2019

Techstars and digitalundivided Partner to Support Women-led Startups

digitalundivided—an entrepreneurship incubator for Black and Latinx women founders—just announced its partnership with accelerator program, Techstars, to increase support for women entrepreneurs. The new partnership will help increase access for women of color to resources in the Techstar network including Techstars startup accelerators, Techstars Startup Weekends, and Techstars Startup Weeks, according to Hypepotamus . “This year Techstars has expanded our focus on diversity and inclusion, and our partnership with digitalundivided is one of the ways we will achieve on that commitment,” said Jason Thompson, VP of diversity and inclusion at Techstars, in a company blog post. “We are thrilled to work with digitalundivided to further our engagement with Black and LatinX women entrepreneurs and provide the Techstars network as a resource to support their growth and success.” The ProjectDiane2018 released by digitalundivided reported Black women-led startups have raised $289 million in...

Dec 13, 2018

Mixtroz Raises $1M in Seed Funding

Mixtroz , a platform founded by a mother-daughter tech duo, raised $1 million in seed funding, becoming one of only 40 Black female founders to hit this fundraising mark. Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons created Mixtroz in 2014 to help users navigate networking events and drive engagement for authentic connection. The funding will help the company hire more members to support the growth of its core team. “Achieving this milestone is a huge success for us, especially considering we are black, female, non-technical tech founders,” said Kerry Schrader, Mixtroz co-founder, and CEO. They won the Rise of the Rest pitch competition in May 2018 in Birmingham—where the startup is based— securing a $100,000 investment. “As a startup, Birmingham has proved to be a perfect home base for us. They have figured out how civic, corporate and tech ecosystems must come together to breed success, and we attribute a lot of our accomplishments to the supportive business community here,” said Schrader in...

Nov 28, 2018

Female Founders Only Raised 2.2 Percent of VC Funding This Year

Women founders received only 2.2 percent of U.S. venture capital this year, according to data from Pitchbook. That number has not budged since last year, and it sheds light on one of the broader gender issues in entrepreneurship — most of the big decision makers are men. Organizations like EnrichHer , Jane VC and Backstage Capital are working to diversify who venture capital goes to and are bringing women to the forefront of VC funding. EnRicherHer is a platform that allows women-entrepreneurs to connect directly to investors. Investors can send money to the companies and organizations of their choice directly through the platform. EnrichHer also features chatting options and funding profiles to help users navigate how and with whom they’d like to spend their money. Jane VC is a women-led VC firm that wants to fund female entrepreneurs. The company has revamped the way that entrepreneurs pitch investors by asking female founders to pitch directly to the firm. Jane VC gives...

Nov 6, 2018

Girlboss Is Launching It's Own Social-Networking Site

There’s a new social network on the way with women entrepreneurs in mind. Sophia Amoruso, founder, and CEO of media company Girlboss is planning to launch a social-networking site called GirlBoss Collective in January 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. The professional site received part of its funding of $3.5 million from Initialized Capital, the venture capital firm co-founded by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Lightspeed Venture Partners also took part in the investment. The social site will be a professional community where users can come and assist each other on a range of matters from negotiating raises to locating an attorney. Although there are professional networking sites such as LinkedIn — which touts over 575 million members globally — Girlboss believes it no longer caters to the current era of working women. “LinkedIn is a place that was built for another era of work, when the work we did was very traditional,” Amoruso told the Wall Street Journal. “Their...

Oct 23, 2018

No Intros Needed: This New VC Firm Wants Women To Pitch Them Directly

Being an entrepreneur is a constant cycle of pitching and producing. Jane VC , a women-led venture capital firm that launched last week, is making pitching more efficient by letting female entrepreneurs cold email and pitch them directly here . Jane VC’s co-founders Jennifer Neundorfer and Maren Thomas Bannon were classmates in Stanford University’s MBA program and have each had successful runs as business owners prior to starting their firm. Neundorfer previously founded Flashstarts, a VC firmed that helped fund more than 50 Midwest-based startups. Bannon is the former CEO and founder of LittleLane, an online platform that gives parents access to local kids’ activities. “We started Jane after experiencing first-hand the systemic hurdles women face in tech,” the founders said in a blog post. The duo said that they want to take the hassle out of introductions and entrepreneurs can expect a timely and direct reply to pitches, even when they are turned down. “We are transparent about...

Oct 22, 2018

Women Startup Employees Are Seeing a Huge Equity Gap

America’s gender pay gap compensates women 80 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts — but for women working in startups, the equity gap is much worse. According to a study released Monday by Carta , a California-based company that helps startups manage their cap table and valuations, women in tech are 35 percent of equity-holding employees, but hold only 20 percent of employee equity. Carta analyzed nearly 180,000 startup employees at more than 6,000 companies and more than 15,000 founders. It is common for startup employees to accept less pay in exchange for equity, in hopes that they will hit the jackpot when the company gains more success. Carta’s study showed that female equity-holding employees earn about 47 cents to the dollar of males equity-holding employees. “Women are consistently undervalued,” said EnrichHer CEO and Founder Roshawnna Novellus. “We often expect even less [pay] because we want to be included in the story and that perpetuates why there is a...

Sep 19, 2018

Live Nation's new initiative will fund women-founded live music businesses

The Women Nation Fund is Live Nation’s latest initiative, a global early-stage investment fund focused on developing women-led music-based business ventures. Women doing work in concert promotions, events and festival industries are qualified to apply for the fund, where they can receive valuable information, resources and money to lead to more women-run events. “As the leader in live entertainment, we want to meaningfully address this issue, change the dynamic and widen the playing field,” said Michael Rapino, CEO and President of Live Nation. Proposals for businesses in any country or region in the world are fair game as long as they are women-founded and provide a product or service in the live event space. Live Nation is a clear leader in the live entertainment space, and the team of leaders who will evaluate the businesses includes a group of experienced women executives according to Billboard , including Anna Sjolund (Co-Managing Director/Head Promoter, Live Nation...

May 30, 2018