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 venture capital firm, MaC, has raised $203 million for its second fund, building on the initial $110 million they secured in seed-stage funding last year. The firm focuses on investing in underrepresented founders of color. The highly resourceful team uses their skills and knowledge to support the next generation of tech companies, focusing on reshaping the culture and providing resources to underrepresented communities. MaC was launched in 2019 by four founding partners: former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, former talent agent Charles D. King, VC veteran Marlon Nichols, and
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
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
Black entrepreneurs saw a dramatic decrease in funding this year as investors continue to pull back. So far, new Crunchbase data shows Black startups received $324 million in VC funds in the second quarter, a steep decrease from the $1.2 billion received in Q1 this year and substantially below the $866 million the founder cohort raised in Q2 last year. Overall, Black founders have received more than $1.5 billion in capital this year, compared to the over $2 billion received last year. Funding at all levels is tracking below 2021.
Over in Los Angeles, Jonathan Moore, 25, left his Wall Street career to work as an analyst at TCG Capital Management. He pitched the idea for the firm to launch a crypto fund, believing the intersection of web3 and the creator economy could tap a generation of untapped talent. Since launching the fund in September 2021, he has closed over 20 deals and says the outlook for this year is equally promising. He’s not the only young person getting into the VC scene. Gen Zs are getting into the space
Calaxy, a Black-owned web3 social marketplace, has raised $26 million in strategic funding co-led by Animoca Brands and HBAR Foundation with support from Polygon. This raise follows a $7.5 million seed round in 2021 with investors like Animoca Brands, Red Beard Ventures, ArkStream Capital, NGC Ventures, and Genesis Block Ventures. The seed round also had support from NFL player Ezekiel Elliott, “The Bachelor” Matt James, and former PayPal head of Blockchain Strategy Jonathan Padilla, among others. Calaxy aims to build a new infrastructure that allows content creators, ranging from small influencers to big-time celebrities, to
Google and Visible Hands, a two-year-old venture capital (VC) firm dedicated to helping underrepresented founders, announced on Tuesday they would jointly conduct a program to help Latino entrepreneurs build new businesses. The program will make a considerable impact given that Latino founders accounted for only 3.9 percent of the venture capital invested in Boston between 2015 and August of 2020, according to a report by Crunchbase. While this percentage is higher than in California (1.2 percent) and New York (2.2 percent), it is still a long way from being representative. Yasmin Cruz
Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall are the sister duo and creators behind QuickHire, a hiring platform that connects workers to service and skilled-trade jobs. In November, QuickHire raised $1.41 million in an oversubscribed round of funding, making Gladney and Muhwezi-Hall the first Black women in Kansas to raise over $1 million for a startup, according to AfroTech. The round is a pretty big deal because Black female startup founders received just 0.34% of the total $147 billion in venture capital invested in U.S. startups through the first half of 2021, according to Crunchbase. QuickHire,
Tiffany James, 27, started Modern BLK Girl after turning an initial $10,000 investment into $2 million. But her success is partly down to one colleague who decided to pass on the baton of knowledge. James had left school with a degree and student loan debt which had her struggling, and for a while, she wasn’t sure how she was going to get out of it. The turning point came in 2019 when a co-worker suggested that she buy stock in a company named Tesla when shares were between $60 and $70.