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Startups

Rising TikTok star, Shermann “Dilla” Thomas (@6figga_dilla) has partnered with digital coupon company, Groupon, to celebrate and support National Black Business Month. The annual celebration of Black businesses every August began in 2014 and aims to help ease the strain that minority-owned businesses experience, from macroeconomic challenges such as inflation to workforce shortages. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately two million companies are owned by BIPOC owners. Therefore, August is a time to show Black-owned businesses appreciation by encouraging individuals to shop, share and support their local Black businesses.  Rising TikToker,

Black woman-owned sports tech platform PowerHandz has closed a “multimillion-dollar investment” with one of the world’s largest investment companies, Vanguard Holdings Group.  In 2021, the company announced its merger with PH Innovation Holdings. The partnership enabled PowerHandz to feature some of its performance products and training content in the multi-sport training app’s live stream, reaching a more comprehensive range of youth, coaches, and parents worldwide. The platform received a multimillion-dollar capital injection from Vanguard Holdings Group a year later. Vanguard has also made a private tender offer to the tech

Ghana-based construction company, LMI Holdings, has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to enhance Ghana’s solar technology. The partnership, which will see the IFC loan the company $30 million, will provide dozens of businesses with solar technology and essential infrastructure needed to boost their productivity. The funding will also enhance water development services in the Sub-Saharan African region.  LMI Holdings, founded by Kojo Aduhene, is a private power distribution company that works to provide a reliable infrastructure for businesses in Africa. The organization’s commitment to building a 16.8-megawatt rooftop solar plant

Africa-focused VC, Oui Capital, closed its $300 million second fund, Capital Mentors Fund II, targeted at supporting pre-seed and seed stage businesses.  The funding round included investors, D Global ventures, Angur Nagpal’s Vibe Capital, One Way Ventures, and Ground Squirrel Ventures.  Oui Capital, founded by Olu Oyinsan and Francesco Andreoli, launched its first $10 million fund in 2018. The investment firm aims to bridge the gap between high-growth technology startups in sub-Saharan Africa. It is on a mission to become the first “yeses” entrepreneurs hear as they embark on their startup

Black-owned startup, Qwili, raises $1.2 million in seed funding. The funding round, led by South African venture firm E4E Africa also included Strat-Tech, Next Chymia, Untapped Global, and Codec Ventures. Angel investors Ashwin Ravichandran and Kanyi Maqubela also participated in the funding round.  Qwili, co-founded in 2020 by Luyolo Sijake, Thandwefika Radebe, and Tapfuma Masunzambwa, works as a hybrid sales platform to support micro and small merchants in South Africa. The company, which aims to address the lack of access to digital products and services within the African market, has developed a quality and

Vice President Harris has announced new public and private sector that aims to align the government with a coalition of companies and foundations to address economic disparities. The initiative, spearheaded by solutions firm Next Street, will see a community of investors make significant contributions to BIPOC businesses by connecting them with investments made by the Biden-Harris administration.  A collective commitment The EOC consists of executive leaders from giant companies, including Bank of America, Capital One, Goldman Sachs, Google, Mastercard, Netflix, PayPal, and more. In addition, the community has already invested

Working in venture capital after business school, Kelly Ifill has seen how difficult it can be for Black entrepreneurs to raise money through the earliest rounds of fundraising, known as the friends and family round, designed to help fledgling startups get off the ground. As the cozy term suggests, founders are expected to secure investments ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 from trusted, well-heeled contacts to serve as seed money before moving on to more significant investments from angel and institutional investors. But it’s not always easy for some groups to

Investment firm Twenty Five Ventures recently announced the launch of their diversity fund: 25V Diversity Fund. The venture capital firm aims to invest up to $10 million in early-stage real estate, property, and fintech startups led by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.  Twenty-Five Ventures, founded in 2020 by Maximillian Diez, works to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that allows everyone to access financial and knowledge-based resources where founders and investors can thrive.  According to a Crunchbase report, Black and Latinx founders receive less funding than non-minority counters. So, despite recent figures showing

Black-owned fintech startup, Guava, has closed a pre-seed funding round of $2.4 million. The funding round, which Heron Rock led, also included investment firm Ruthless for Good Fund, Precursor Ventures, Backstage Capital, and angel investors Lexi Reese and Ed Zimmerman.  Guava, founded in 2021 by Kelly Ifill, helps Black-owned businesses bank and build community. The banking and networking platform works to close the racial wealth gap by aiding small Black companies and creators with the tools needed to scale and grow their businesses.  The digital platform, which is yet to

Billionaire philanthropist Robert F. Smith recently announced the launch of the Student Freedom Initiative, a program designed to provide paid internships to HBCU students.   Robert F. Smith will launch the Student Freedom Initiative’s HELPS Program in partnership with financial regulation company Prudential Finance. The partnership will address Black students’ disproportionate financial loan burden, which often hinders their career progression. The program aims to provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) HBCU students with $1.8 million in microgrants, which will act as a contingent fund alongside their traditional college loans.  Robert F. Smith, famously known

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