Founder Who Raised $15M For Her Own Startup Teams Up With Husband To Launch A VC Firm That Invests Only In Black Women
Founder of femtech startup Ruby Love, Crystal Etienne, joined forces with her husband, Jean, last year to start VC firm CaJE, a VC that focuses on investing in “soil” rounds, similar to a family and friends investing round.
Crystal’s own startup has raised $15 million since it was founded in 2016. She bootstrapped the company from its humble beginnings to over $10 million within two years.
But she still felt “cajed” many times while entering the new industry with very little help along the way, but overcame every obstacle. Jean ran his own transportation and delivery business when Crystal asked him to eventually join her company.
Together, as a married couple, they have mastered the formula for building aggressive and scalable businesses. The pair plan to use ‘Cajed’ to only invest in Black women entrepreneurs and provide mentoring services.
Those early checks can range between $1,000 and $25,000. It doesn’t seem like they’ve invested in any founders just yet but we’re keeping an eye out.
As of July last year when the pair thought of launching the firm, Black women founders had only received 0.34% of VC funding in the US, according to Crunchbase. But that percentage has been on the rise in the past five years.
Crystal hopes to speed up the process.
Entrepreneurs interested in CaJE will be able to submit their pitch decks through the firm’s website. They are looking to invest in people who have developing concepts or businesses in the direct-to-consumer market.
“As a female founder and woman of color, I’ve personally experienced the vast inequalities Black women face when looking to secure venture capital,” Crystal Etienne, Co-Founder of CaJE said at the time.
“It is my dream to leverage my learnings and give back to fellow women looking to turn their business goals into a reality. My husband and I want to provide today’s leading Black entrepreneurs and visionaries with the capital, resources and guidance needed to help them win.”