Where to Turn Next: The Dismal Reality of Funding for Black Founders

TechGround reported last week that Black founders in the US raised 1% of total venture capital investments ($215.9B) in 2021, compared to 0.8%, 1%, 1.1%, and 1.3% in 2020, 2019, 2018-17 respectively (Crunchbase).

The shocking statistic: Black Americans comprise over 13% of the population, making these figures all the more dreadful.

As these figures are released, one recurring query arises: What’s the next move? Do we pursue other sources of financing or remain in a constant state of readiness for battle?

It’s stunning that, always in the quest for equality, separation is always the safe place in America. Separate schools, separate neighborhoods, separate hair care aisles, separate funding tracks.

It’s remarkable that, in our pursuit of equality, separation remains the go-to solution in America–separate schools, neighborhoods, hair care aisles and funding tracks.

Brandon Brooks, founding partner of Overlooked Ventures, suggests getting creative with funding to make it through this tough time. He advises looking into Small Business Development Centers and grant programs.

James Oliver, co-founder of the app Kabila, stressed that Black founders must be more resourceful than ever to secure funding. “Period,” he said in an interview with TechGround.

Based in Atlanta, Oliver is leveraging relationships to raise a pre-seed and angel round from local resources like the Atlanta Tech Village, as well as founder rounds with investments from other founders.

“As a Black founder fundraising,” he said, “it’s tough. I had an investor pass on my idea even though they normally fund ideas and not products. But if your back is against the wall, you find out what you’re made of: leverage relationships, give first to others and get creative.”

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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