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Venture Capital

After buying SoftBank’s Open Opportunity Fund, Paul Judge and Marcelo Claure have announced plans to raise a $200 million fund. SoftBank Group is a Japanese multinational investment holding company focusing on investment management. Judge and Claure recently acquired the firm’s $100 million Open Opportunity Fund 1, $150 million Fund 2, and the entire portfolio. They initially planned to increase Fund 2 to $200 million, which they are now doing. A New $200M Fund The two are now raising the second Open Opportunity Fund, as they want to replicate the same winning recipe with an eye toward

Billionaires Mark Cuban and Michael Rubin agreed to invest $300,000 in Black-owned AI startup Bot-It, on a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. Founded by Maurice Bachelor and Joel Griffith, Bot-It lets users automate online tasks like booking appointments, making restaurant reservations, and even securing concert tickets. Bot-It Bot-It is a new service that introduces web automation to everyday people without requiring any coding or technical skills to set up. Bachelor conceived the idea after seeing a friend struggle with completing an online task, and after searching the internet for

Black-owned tech accelerator Plug In Ventures has secured a new $1 million grant from the California Office of Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA). Plug In is the space for Black and Brown entrepreneurs and VCs to reimagine the innovation economy across the US and beyond. Founded by Derek Smith in 2014, the accelerator investing mentors and expands early-stage entrepreneurs. Since 2019, companies in his firm’s ecosystem have raised over $22 million in VC dollars from climate, sustainability, the creator economy, and athletic apparel. The Funding Plug In Ventures will receive $250,000 annually from CalOSBA over

Fearless Fund has urged a US appeals court to allow its grant program to resume, which awards funding to businesses run by Black women. The Fearless Fund Story To Date The American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) attacked Fearless Fund in August 2023 after it claimed the fund’s grant was racially discriminatory. The AAER, founded by Edward Blum, who was behind the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, accused the grant program of violating Section 1081 of the Civil Rights Act of 1886. The US District, Thomas V. Thrash, initially ruled that Fearless Fund

Aster has announced its $2.4 million pre-seed round to build a platform to enable women’s health providers to deliver materially better care. Aster The United States is the most dangerous and expensive high-income country for childbirth, especially for Black and Indigenous women. Black women face a nine times higher risk of maternal death than their white counterparts, regardless of wealth. The Aster app was created to help women keep track of their pregnancy, communicate with a care team on the app, and book appointments and remote monitoring. FiFi Kara co-founded the app after witnessing her

Alinea Invest has received $3.4 million in seed funding just in time for the launch of their virtual AI assistant to help users with their investing needs. Alinea Invest After interning at Goldman Sachs, Eve Halimi and Anam Lakhani, co-founders of Alinea, realized the need for a female-focused investing app to guide women in making investments and managing their wealth. “The pain point we saw is that people like us who are young women, Gen Zs, children of immigrants, they have no idea where to start,” Lakhani told TechCrunch. “Financial literacy is a massive pain

Latimer Ventures has announced plans for a mini-accelerator, Latimer House, for Black and Latinx founders to strengthen businesses, attract investment, and build a network. In honor of Lewis Latimer, Luke Cooper founded Latimer Ventures in 2022.  The venture capital firm is focused on helping the next generation of Black and Hispanic enterprise SaaS unicorns. Latimer House Latimer House is an 8-week intensive program for Black and Latinx founders, aiming to help them get to their next growth stage, whether that’s funding or their first enterprise customer. The program also aims to help founders gain

Last year, African startups raised $2.9 billion in deals worth $100,000 and above (excluding exits). Although this amounts to a 39% drop compared to 2022, the continent is showing signs of resilience. Shifting investor landscape In 2023, Techstars was the top investor with 56 deals, surpassing Launch Africa. Other key players included Founders Factory Africa, Ventures Platform, Norrsken, and Y Combinator. All but Norrsken did fewer deals in 2023 than in 2022. For example, YC added only 12 African startups to its 2023 cohorts, compared to 43 in 2022 and

Venture capital (VC) funding for Black entrepreneurs in the US has been decreasing since a peak following George Floyd’s murder in 2020. In 2023, Black founders in the US got only 0.48% of all venture dollars, about $661 million out of $136 billion, TechCrunch reports. This is the lowest in recent years. Peak funding in 2021 In 2020, Black founders received 0.6% of venture funding. By the first half of 2021, funding to Black entrepreneurs in the US reached nearly $1.8 billion, a fourfold increase compared to the same time

Breakr, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) alumni-founded music platform, has raised an additional $1.9 million. Breakr is reshaping influencer collaboration through its SaaS platform designed explicitly for record labels, artists, and brands. By enabling creator-to-creator relationships at scale, labels and brands can move at the speed of culture, and creators can get paid fairly for making it happen. The Three-Sided Marketplace Breakr’s unique selling point is that it effectively treats the basic concept of connecting creators to build influencer campaigns as a programmatic opportunity. The company recently came

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