This venture capital fund isn’t backing away from the reason it all started in the first place.
After being accused of practicing unlawful racial discrimination, the founders of the Fearless Fund continue to stand firm on why they launched the firm in the first place.
“We had one clear vision in mind,” said Fearless Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Arian Simone during an official press conference in response to the news on Aug. 10. “That was to change the game for women of color entrepreneurs. Our rationale was simple. These women are the most founded yet the least funded. They’re starting businesses at a much higher rate than any other demographic. Yet, they lack access to capital, access to resources, access to TV networks, and the education needed to scale their businesses.”
On Aug. 3, AfroTech reported that Edward Blum — the man who played a role in the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2023 decision to reject affirmative action in college admissions — brought forth a lawsuit against the Fearless Fund claiming that they violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
What’s more, court documents say Blum and his team allege that the firm did so by “barring racial bias in private contracts, by making only Black women eligible in a grant competition.”
While this is Blum’s first time bringing forth an argument of this kind, a report by Reuters did note that this is just the first of many lawsuits he plans to pursue through his American Alliance for Equal Rights organization against private corporations.
During the press conference, an attending journalist questioned that sentiment. At this time, the lead counsel representing Fearless Fund said that the firm is their primary focus.
“Our principle objective at this point, it’s to focus on Fearless Fund, we do have an unjust and inequitable system that exists, and there will be appropriate avenues to exploit that,” said Co-Counsel Alphonso David from the Global Black Economic Forum. “But at this point, we’re focusing on the Fearless Fund.”
Moving forward, the leaders of the organization aren’t backing down without a fight.
“We are not scared, we are fearless,” said Simone during the press conference.
While the Fearless Fund’s legal counsel did not comment on the specific strategy they intend to use against Blum and company, the entire group did make one thing clear: “We intend to win.”
The Fearless Fund is being represented by lead counsel from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, including Mylan Denerstein, Jason Schwartz, Zakiyyah T. Salim-Williams, and Molly Senger. Co-counsel includes Alphonso David from the Global Black Economic Forum and Attorney Ben Crump from Ben Crump Law. Consulting counsel is provided by Danielle Conley from Latham & Watkins, Janai Nelson from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Fatima Goss Graves from the National Women’s Law Center, and Richard Harris and Andrew Grumet from Holland & Knight.