July 27, 2022

Black-Owned Banking And Community Hub Guava Raises $2.4M

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 launch, has built a community for Black entrepreneurs to exchange knowledge, celebrate their successes, promote their products, and connect with like-minded individuals. Guava also offers business owners financial services, from expense and growth reports to money and budgeting programs. 

“Black folks had to be entrepreneurs, we had to build businesses to support our families, but because of racism, we were excluded from so many opportunities,” said Kelly Ifill, founder of Guava. 

“Guava aims to tackle the racial wealth gap head-on by facilitating the growth and resilience of Black small-business owners, creators, and entrepreneurs. Not only have legacy banks underserved Black communities for decades, but they also failed to recognize the vast financial opportunities they missed by doing so. Digital banks like Guava can help by providing broader access to core services, networks, and liquidity.” 

According to the outlet, the extra funding will go towards expanding Guava’s team, which currently consists of eight people. The investment will also help the digital bank build more credit products to help provide access to capital for entrepreneurs in rural areas. 

Ifill hopes Guava will help elevate Black entrepreneurs in a way never seen before, providing them with access to financial and community support, which will aid them through any economic turmoil. 

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.