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Diversity

Founder and CEO of mental health tech startup MindRight Health, Ashley Edwards, has raised $1.78 million in seed funding. The funding round led by investment platform Lifeforce Capital included existing investors Acumen America and Impact America Fund. New investors included Hopelab Ventures, Gaingels and Impact Assets, and Pivotal Ventures.  Edwards previously raised $1 million for MindRight Health in 2020. In doing so, became one of only 35 Black women in the US, and was reportedly the first Black woman in New Jersey, to achieve this level of VC funding. This

Atlanta-based digital Fintech company Greenwood recently announced the acquisition of Black-owned networking platform Valence. The partnership will provide millions of Black professionals access to new career opportunities. Valence, which Kobie Fuller co-founded with Emily Slade and LaMer Walker in 2019, is a leading recruitment platform that helps connect, empower, and showcase Black professionals. In addition, the networking platform, which was launched to address the lack of diversity within leadership roles, has provided alternative routes for professionals whose skin color may have played a role in how they were perceived in

Black-owned venture capital firm, Backstage Capital, has cut 75% of its operational staff due to fundraising and growth challenges, both externally and internally. Backstage Capital, founded by Arlan Hamilton in 2015, was one of the first VC firms to dedicate their services to minimizing the funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders of color, women, and LGBT members. The firm, which Hamilton built from the ground up while homeless, invested in over 170 start-up companies led by underrepresented founders. The decision to downsize its team came just three

Black-owned food waste startup, Goodr, has closed $8 million in their latest round of financing. The funding round, led by venture capital firm, Precursor Ventures, included investment firm Collab Capital, Emerson Collective, Backstage Capital, Innovations for Impact, Kimbal, Telus Pollinator Fund, and a series of other private angel investors. This round brings Goodr’s total funding to $9.4 million. The Atlanta-based startup, founded by Jasmine Crowe in 2017, works to feed people who may experience food insecurity. The community first focused on helping feed a small number of people experiencing homelessness

The tech industry has spent a decade publicly reckoning with its diversity problem. Still, Black and Hispanic workers hold just 7% and 8% of computer worker roles in the U.S., though they represent 11% and 17% of the country’s total workforce, respectively, according to the Pew Research Center. With the Metaverse becoming increasingly popular, it’s important to hold those in power accountable. Earlier this year, reporter Yinka Bokinni wrote a piece in the Guardian about her experiences in the Metaverse. “But within the first 10 minutes of putting on a

Athletic champions Naomi Osaka and LeBron James have announced the launch of their new media production company, Hana Kuma.  Hana Kuma, founded by the four-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka and NBA legend LeBron James, will produce documentaries, feature television shows, and anime programs for a global audience. The production company will primarily focus on highlighting stories from marginalized groups yet to be covered by mainstream media outlets.  “I’ve built my career taking a different approach than others around me,” Naomi Osaka said in an Instagram post. “Because my journey has

London-based venture capital firm, Octopus Ventures, has launched its first £10 million ($12 million) pre-seed fund to support fresh startups in the fintech and health sectors. The firm, founded in 2007, works to fill the growing gap in early pre-seed funding for European founders.  Kirsten Connell and Maria Rotilu, veterans of Seedcamp and Uber, will lead the company’s first-ever investment fund. They will bring their extensive experience and knowledge of growing firms from the beginning to the job, enabling them to work closely with start-ups in their early years.  Octopus

Olympian Allyson Felix‘s footwear brand Saysh, co-founded by her brother and business partner Wes Felix,  has secured an $8 million investment in its series A funding round.  The funding round led by Iris Ventures, with participation from Redpoint Ventures saw Gap Inc. acquire an equity stake in Saysh. Additionally, Athleta, a subsidiary of Gap Inc., has agreed to showcase Saysh footwear on their website in partnership with the footwear brand. The news comes after Allyson Felix announced her departure from Nike in 2021, due to claims the company was not doing enough to support pregnant female athletes and

Entrepreneurs Daa’iyah Fogle, a Claflin University alumnus, and Malcolm Lee, a graduate of Virginia Union University, are the winners of the NBA Foundation’s first-ever pitch competition in partnership with Black Girl Ventures. The joint competition, held in Cleveland, allowed college-aged entrepreneurs from HBCUs across the US to participate and pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. The entrepreneurs eligible to participate in the competition were all Black Girl Ventures’ NextGen Program members. The scheme was created to support the next generation of Black and brown business leaders attending

YouTube has officially opened grant applications for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2023. The $100 million funds will amplify and nurture Black voices in the creator community.  The grant program, which the video platform first launched in 2020, was primarily designed to help support and nurture Black creators and artists, from musicians and lawyers to gamers and fitness instructors.  The scheme has welcomed over 300 grantees from the United States, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, and Nigeria in just over two years. The program has not

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