Fundraising While Black: Here Are Some Lessons

For many Black entrepreneurs, getting funding for their business is a daunting and disproportionately difficult task, especially because only about 1% of all venture dollars goes to Black founders, according to Crunchbase, despite Black and African Americans making up 13% of the U.S. population. 

But a trio of Black Techstars alumni — who each raised at least a million dollars in seed capital for their business — met at Startup Hall at the University of Washington to share their experience of raising capital.

They also offered advice for Black founders looking to navigate the clubby world of venture capital. The event was called “Fundraising while Black” and is part of Techstars “Interstellar Week.”

The three panelists included: Amira Rasool, founder and CEO of Folklore, a wholesaler for African and Black-owned fashion brands; Kwame Boler, co-founder, and CEO of Spritz, a digital platform for house cleaners; and Jade Kearney, co-founder and CEO of She Matters, a digital health platform for Black mothers.

Practice makes perfect

She added that it is also important to practice your pitch beforehand and remain confident when approaching these VCs or angels. She joked that she used to watch Elizabeth Holmes documentaries on how to appear and sound confident in pitching as a woman.

Mentorship is key

Each of the panelists said it’s important to have a mentor that will help you learn the lingo that many VCs speak, while also coaching you in the conventional way to pitch your business and ask for a check. 

Keeping taps on investors

Folklore co-founder Rasool says she spends a lot of time working on her Airtable, where she keeps literal tabs on the investors she is targeting. She said that some investors considered giving her money solely on the level of background on VCs and angel investors she had on her list. 

She added that it is also important to practice your pitch beforehand and remain confident when approaching these VCs or angels. She joked that she used to watch Elizabeth Holmes documentaries on how to appear and sound confident in pitching as a woman.

Stay humble

The last piece of advice these founders give is prioritizing mental health and remaining humble. 

Boler says being an entrepreneur can be lonely sometimes. He recommends a therapist to those fortunate enough to get one. 

He added that entrepreneurs should “materialize their reality,” meaning that each success should be considered in the broader context and not go to the founder’s head. Ultimately, he said, entrepreneurs should remain humble.

Article Tags :
Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

Related Posts