April 14, 2023

MassMutual Launches Additional $100M Fund For Black, Overlooked Founders

A young black lady, wearing a white shirt with smile on a face. She is reflecting on a funny moment

Massachusetts-based Black-led startups are getting a $100 million boost from MassMutual’s second MM Catalyst Fund (MMCF).

MassMutual announced that it is adding $100 million to its MMCF. The fund will continue to make investments in startups led by Black and historically overlooked founded-companies in the company’s home state of Massachusetts. 

MMCF will also invest selectively with fund managers in MassMutual’s First Fund Initiative, which focuses on first-time fund managers from Black, Latine, and Indigenous backgrounds.

Building on past success

The MMCF has backed 16 companies across various industries since its launch in 2021. Investments in Black-led startups include HourWork, Seaspire Skincare, and MeetCaregivers.

“This new fund will build and expand upon the MM Catalyst Fund’s success – including our innovative, consultative approach that helps address the gaps and barriers to funding,” Jason Allen, Portfolio Manager of Impact Investments at MassMutual, said in a press statement.

“We look forward to investing in companies led by exceptional founders who are solving problems with compassion and conviction to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact while addressing inequality in capital markets.”

Double investment in two years

MassMutual’s total impact investment commitment has doubled to $300 million in just two years.

Liz Roberts, MassMutual’s Head of Impact Investing, noted the dire funding situation facing underrepresented founders. Black, Indigenous, and Latino communities account for over a third of the US population. However, less than 5% of all VCs identify as Black or Latine, and less than 5% of all VC funds are designated for Black and Latine founders.

Read: Solo Ceesay On Why Venture Diversity Initiatives Continue to Fall Short

“We are excited to continue supporting entrepreneurs in our home state of Massachusetts and expand our focus to select investment opportunities in diverse-led businesses across the country as one of the first movers in this area,” said Roberts.

“Our ongoing commitment and investments in diverse and overlooked companies will hopefully inspire other businesses and institutions to follow suit, enabling us to collectively eliminate structural barriers and advance racial equity.”

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)