August 4, 2022

Black-Owned UK VC Firm Launches $23.9M Fund To Back Diverse Entrepreneurs

Black-owned VC firm, Cornerstone has launched its first-ever investment fund to help support entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. 

The £20 million ($23.9 million) fund aims to give early-stage tech companies between £250,000 and £1 million, based in the UK and across 40 countries. Cornerstone VC wants to help change the situation, to make the investment world a lot more diverse by backing unrepresented and undervalued founders and innovators. 

“We believe diversity is key to driving outperformance. Contrary to perceptions around a pipeline problem, that there aren’t enough diverse entrepreneurs to invest in, we don’t see any evidence of that,” said Rodney Appiah, managing partner, Cornerstone. 

“We meet more than 500 diverse founder-led businesses a year, and our data indicate a growing pipeline of high-growth, innovation-led investment opportunities led by diverse founders.” 

Cornerstone VC, founded by Rodney Appiah, Edwin Appiah, and Wilfred Fianko, is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in B2B technology solutions in the US. According to the outlet, they seek and invest in companies that solve business problems, demonstrate initial solid reaction, and have a strategy that supports finding product-market fit technology.

According to a report by Cornerstone in 2021, only 1% of founders that receive seed funding identify as Black, and only 3% of VC-funded founders identify as Black. Of those that received grants, 75% of them came from privileged or advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. These statistics show how vital Cornerstone’s new fund is. 

The company has already invested in several businesses, including fashion rental company By Rotation, virtual reality training platform Moon Hub and logistics business Hutch. However, they want to expand their portfolio and invest in more businesses in the coming years.

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.