There is no secret about some of the historical challenges that communities of color have faced in the United States. People of color have documented accounts of the hurdles that can impede success, particularly around wealth and ownership. However, none of that stopped the thousands of business owners and innovators from being successful despite the challenges. To copy the words of Atlanta-based HBCU Clark Atlanta University, people of color continue to “find a way or make one.”
Regardless of the grit and hustle it sometimes takes to overcome policies and systems designed to hinder success, business owners of color persist. Some of this persistence comes from the assistance of individuals and organizations that recognize the struggle and are willing to be more than allies. They are looking to be accomplices.
Techstars Is Committed To Funding Diverse Entrepreneurs
One of the organizations doing the work to advance business owners of color is Techstars.
According to their website, Techstars is “an operational investor supporting you on your entrepreneurial journey from idea to building the most successful business possible. Built and run by entrepreneurs themselves, we understand the complexities of putting your ideas into action and scaling them.”
Parts of their work include providing access to capital, customized programming for early-stage funding, and one-on-one mentorship. Recently, Techstars closed a pre-seed fund that invests in business founders from underrepresented communities in the United States.
A representative from Techstars announced that the program for entrepreneurs of color is called Rising Stars. Rising Stars is a pre-seed accelerator program specifically for entrepreneurs of color.
Rising Stars is a pre-seed fund investing in underrepresented founders of color in the U.S.
Our goal is to replace the ‘family and friends round’ that not everyone has access to…
— Saba (@sabakarimm) April 28, 2022
According to Tech Crunch, Rising Stars is led by Saba Karim, who leads Techstars’ startup pipeline, and Neal Sáles-Griffin, Managing Director of Techstars Chicago. As noted in an SEC filing for the fund, Techstars has closed on $5 million in funding for the Rising Stars accelerator program. Backers of the fund include Amazon, Twitter, and Sandhill Angels.
Entrepreneurs a part of Rising Stars will receive checks for $100,000 in exchange for about a 7% to 10% stake in their company.
The new fund will allow entrepreneurs to have early access to capital and enable Techstars to identify future candidates for the organizations over 50 accelerator programs worldwide.