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Startups

African-based distribution platform, Afrikamart, has raised $850,000 in seed funding. The funding round, led by Bloc Smart Africa and managed by Bamboo Capital Partners, saw a range of investors participate, including Bamboo Capital Partners, Orange Ventures, Launch Africa, and Teranga Capital.   Afrikamart, co-founded by Albert Diouf and Mignane Diouf in 2018, is a digital distribution platform that works to provide services to farmers. The brothers launched the tech platform to address farmers’ problems with poor market access and late payment from intermediaries using technology to collect products from thousands of

Black-led communication startup, Simpu, has launched its first-ever omnichannel inbox, allowing businesses to interact with customers through various social channels. The omnichannel inbox will not only enable companies to communicate with their consumers in a range of mediums, but it also allows them to diverge away from the traditional customer support channels, which primarily focus on phone, email, or chat support.  Collins Iheagwara co-founded Simpu with Kolawole Balogun and Tioluwani Kolawole in 2020, which was designed to help business owners unify all their communication channels through an automated workflow. The

Minority-owned early-stage cannabis fund, JourneyOne Ventures, has closed a $10 million fund to invest in businesses within the growing cannabis industry. The fund includes a range of investors like Paul Bown, founder of Bowen; Elizabeth Yin, general partner at Hustle Fund; Eric Manlunas, general partner at Wavemaker Partners and Fred Kang, a former partner at Andreessen Horowitz.  JourneyOne Ventures, founded in 2017 by Helene Servillon, is committed to building a community of genuinely talented entrepreneurs. The investment company, 100% women-led and minority-owned, invests in bold performers within the cannabis industry

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

Businessman and investor Baron Davis has announced his partnership with Hennessy for their “Never Stop Never Settle Society” campaign. The serial entrepreneur and former NBA player is set to join the team as a board member and hopes to use his experiences to help champion Black entrepreneurs.  The initiative, launched by the famous liquor brand in 2021, works to accelerate the growth of Black business owners across the US. The $1 million campaign, which Hennessy developed in partnership with talent development platform Marcus Graham Project, provides 20 Black entrepreneurs with

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 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

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

Dragon’s Den star Steven Bartlett is seeking “fledgling entrepreneurs” to take part in a secret BBC show. The Social Chain co-founder has called on business leaders in the e-commerce world to participate. Mr. Bartlett is working on the project with BBC Studios but has kept quiet on the finer details. In a message posted on LinkedIn, the entrepreneur said applications have to be free to be filmed on July 8, 2022, between 8 am and 5 pm in East London. He added anyone who is interested should e-mail businessg@bbc.co.uk. Mr. Bartlett

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