Interview: Meet The Black Duo That Launched Their Own VC Firm To Shake Up The Tech Industry
POCIT recently sat down with Bruce Hamilton, 35, and Mario Mitchell, 30, the founders of Mech Ventures, an early to late-stage venture capital firm that invests early in founders building fast-growing technology companies.
POCIT: Tell me a bit more about how you got into the VC field?
Bruce: At Mech Ventures – although we are open to everyone and anyone we want to make sure that our platform gives fair funding to Black people and people of color. In terms of how we launched the firm and got involved in this – it’s very interesting.
We started as entrepreneurs and operators armed with the internet and a diehard love for hustle and culture. We’ve turned our passions and struggles into a global creative engine that has no boundaries and redefines venture capital. Most importantly, we represent the culture.
I was in the tech industry for about five years as a serial founder, before I got into VC. But I met Mario very recently, and we just had these really amazing conversations about investment, our goals, and values in terms of venture path, and it all just aligned. So one day, I was like, hey let’s just launch our own VC firm, and then that’s literally how that came about.
Mario: I’m also one of the general partners here at Mech. I was in a role to do with ecosystem development before this and I knew I needed to do more. So when we started having conversations around launching this – I was eager. There was no looking back.
POCIT: A breakdown of Hamilton’s previous startup experience
Hamilton’s latest company, Wing Zero, develops a variety of tools to help Black talent thrive. Wing Zero Apps continues the work they started in his previous company dubbed Doly by creating an easy and intuitive way for people with no coding knowledge to create apps.
When a user subscribes to one of Wing Zero App’s premium app templates, the Wing Zero team can help them get their app running within 2-5 business days. They also offer integrations with Shopify and manage the entire process of launching the app to the Apple Store or Google Play.
POCIT: What stage are you at – at the moment with the VC firm?
Mario: We’re ready to receive pitches and decks. So we have set up a rolling fund and we’re currently stuck in pitch deck mode, looking at them – speaking to founders about their mission, vision, software, everything that we can learn about the business that can help us make a better-informed decision.
We have big dreams of working with some different companies to provide more opportunities for entrepreneurs as well and we’re going to be looking to invest starting January 2022.
Bruce: So we’re pretty open when it comes to where we’re looking to invest. I think innovation doesn’t just sit in the US and because of that, we’re open to talking with companies pretty much everywhere – if you’re building a dope company, we want to talk to you.
POCIT: We’d love to know what makes you different from other VC firms?
Bruce: Well, first, we want to change the VC landscape so that we’re founder-friendly as most VC firms are known to be kind of soulless. So I feel incredibly honored to be in this position talking to these companies that are building incredible, incredible products.
I think our mission plays a vital part in why a venture actually exists. You know, I’ve gone into a few pitch meetings and it’s always just like a very nerve-wracking experience having to talk to investors. We understand that struggle. So I think that’s what’s gonna help set us apart is that we come from that founder mindset and we want to do everything in our power to make the process of funding really easy for them.
POCIT: Where would you like to be in the next 5 to 10 years?
Bruce: A long-term vision of ours is that we want to be the complex of venture capital, we want to be the premier venture capital firm that people not only relate to on a cultural level. We want it to be a situation where a founder sits down and thinks – oh we’re ready to start building our company let’s get funding from Mech.
We want to be that company that’s known that we’ve gotten behind some really innovative companies that have changed the way the world works like we were looking to invest in the next Uber, Airbnb, Google, we just want to be that groundbreaking company that operates differently than standard venture capital.
POCIT: So you’re based in two different cities (LA and Las Vegas) – how has that positively or negatively helped your firm?
Mario: I think sometimes I wish I was there in LA, but I also get the opportunity to attend lots of events here in my hometown because of Vegas’ last name for innovation. So yeah I think there are lots of opportunities to grow, network, and build respective communities by being based in different cities.