October 15, 2021

Which VC Firms Are Actually Investing In Black Founders?

In the US, accelerators like Techstars and Y Combinator are the most active investors in Black founders, followed by early-stage investors like Backstage Capital and Kapor Capital that focus on diverse founders.

As we already know, Black founders often get a small portion of the pie when it comes to investment – which is why it’s essential to highlight the VCs dedicated to investing in minority communities and those who have a history of supporting under-appreciated groups.

We’ve sifted through a list created by the Black Founders list of VC firms across the US that have previously invested in Black business owners. Not all the firms are solely dedicated to funding minority-owned startups, but they have committed to do so.

Here at POCIT – we’ve done you a favor and broken it all down into a straightforward list that includes some of the top VC firms investing in the community!

Techstars has invested in 2867 startups, and 42 of them are Black founded

The venture capital firm describes itself as an “operational investor” supporting founders on their entrepreneurial journey from ideas to building the most successful business possible.

According to current data compiled by the Black Founders List, 1% of the companies they have funded are owned by Black people.

Prominent investments

ConnXus, created by Rod Robinson, received funding from Techstars during its Series A round. The startup is a cloud procurement platform that enables 2,000 companies to achieve supply chain objectives.

Its platform provides powerful tools and analytics that enable large companies to build more inclusive, transparent and risk-compliant supply chains.

Since starting the company in 2010, Rod has led the company through successfully raising $13 million in venture capital, 100% annual revenue growth, and a growing list of global enterprise customers including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and McDonald’s, according to the company website.

The venture firm has also invested in Fêtefully, a Black-founded company that provides affordable and personalized wedding and event planning services. It was founded by Gigi Mcdowell, who also managed to secure a  $1.3 million seed round to hire and help build out the platform for its public debut.

Fêtefully founder.

Y Combinator has invested in 2,998 startups, and 39 of them were Black founded

The Y Combinator is an American seed money startup accelerator launched in March 2005. It has reportedly been used to launch more than 2,000 companies.

Prominent investments

Squire, founded by Dave Salvant and Songe LaRon, is of the firm’s investments. The all-in-one platform focuses on providing barber services to its customers. It gives them the chance to manage bookings from App, online links, and shop, drag and drop and access barber-specific pricing and durations.

Y Combinator invested in the company during its Series A round.

The duo first launched the company in 2016 and earlier this year it announced that it raised a $60 million round. The New York startup is now valued at a whopping $750 million. This is a massive increase from a little over a year ago, it was valued at $75 million.

It also funded 1910 Genetics, a biotechnology company integrating AI, computation, and biological automation to accelerate the design of small molecule and protein therapeutics.

Backstage Capital has invested in more than 180 companies led by underrepresented founders and 26 of them were Black founded, according to the latest data we’ve seen.

The firm, owned by tech giant Arlan Hamilton, has been investing in underestimated founders since 2015 and it has one of the largest portfolios of underrepresented founders in the venture space.

Prominent investments

It invested in Akash System’s Series A round. Akash System, founded by Felix Ejeckam and Ty Mitchell, in 2016 is focused on developing and supplying the next generation of extreme bandwidth, hyper-efficient communications gear for space satellites. 

Akash, which is working to accelerate the world’s march towards universal and low-cost access to the internet.

Right Side Capital Management has invested in 1000 startups, and 25 of them were Black founded

Prominent investments

The firm is a technology startup investment venture focused exclusively on the pre-seed stage. It was first launched in 2012.

Ovia Health was founded in 2012 when co-founder and CTO, Alex Baron, and his wife were first trying to start a family. The digital platform, first created by Paris Wallace, aims to transform episodic care into continuous support while improving family wellbeing and fostering positive outcomes.

It serves millions of people with clinical programs, predictive interventions, and personalized pathways spanning the spectrum of family health and parenting.

Kapor Capital has invested in 206 startups, and 22 of them were Black founded

Kapor Capital is the venture capital investment arm of the Kapor Center for Social Impact based in Oakland, CA. The VC was founded more than a decade ago in 2009 by Mitchell Kapor.

Prominent investments

Its invested in Pigeonly, a startup dedicated to providing simple, affordable ways to stay in touch with inmates from any phone, tablet, or computer. You can send the prisoners money, call them or even send a postcard and articles.

Here is a short breakdown of how this service works:

You use the services, free inmate locator, to search and find your inmate at any Federal, State, or country facility.

Select autopay and “never worry about losing connection with your loved one”. You can then pay as you go options are also available.

The initiative was set up by Frederick Hutson, an American businessman. A born entrepreneur, he launched and sold his first business at the age of 19 while on active duty in the United States Air Force.

The firm has also invested in Upsie, a Black-founded mobile app that provides warranties for electronic devices and appliances. Another company is PromisePay, a modern payment processing platform built for utilities and government agencies.

500 Startups has invested in 2350 startups, and 21 of them were Black founded

The venture capital firm with more than $1.8 billion¹ in assets under management that invests early in founders building fast-growing technology. The portfolio includes 33 companies valued at over $1 billion and 120 companies valued at over $100 million.

Monique Woodward currently oversees the firm’s $25-million micro fund to support early-stage Black- and Latinx-owned startups in the US, including AllDay Media and Mayvenn.

Prominent investments

It has invested in Blavity, Inc. which is known to be home to the largest network of platforms and lifestyle brands serving the multifaceted lives of black millennials.

It was founded by Morgan DeBaun. In 2014 as a 24-year-old visionary, she saw the need for a platform and a media brand that would share authentic stories and news about underrepresented voices in America, and their achievements. She has gone from strength to strength over the past years and recently announced that she raised $6.5 milllion in new funding led by GV (formerly known as Google Ventures). 

500 startups also funded Court Buddy and Dolla ride’s Series A round. Court buddy is a company that instantly matches consumers with solo attorneys based on budget. its based in San Francisco, California, United States.

Dollaride provides a safe and transparent service, allowing you to see who your driver is and how far your destination is.

MaC Venture Capital has invested in 124 startups, and 18 of them are Black founded

MaC Venture Capital is a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology startups leveraging shifts in cultural trends and behaviors. Earlier this year – the partners at MaC Venture Capital, closed on $103 million for its inaugural fund.

Prominent investments

The firm has funded Wonderschools Series A round. Its mission is to ensure every child has access to early education that helps them realize their potential.

Wonderschool CEO and co-founder Chris Bennett saw too many parents who were anxious and scared about finding child care, as well as educators who couldn’t afford care for their own children while they were at work. He knew that there had to be a better way to address this issue for families and teachers alike.

Chris’s appreciation for education goes back to his parents, Honduran immigrants who did whatever they could to ensure that he had access to an excellent education—from sending him to a quality preschool to supporting him through his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania.

He was committed to making sure other children had the same opportunities to reach their full potential, according to the company’s website.

The company has continued to rise above expectations and in 2018 it secured a $20M investment. The round brings the startup to $24.1 million in total funding just two years after launch.

It has invested in Sote, a company that focuses on building digital logistics infrastructures for Africa, and Zero Grocery, a company that provides a convenient zero-waste grocery delivery service.

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.

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