For startup companies, particularly Black-led startups, the lack of diversity in venture capital (VC) can hinder accessing funding. Research from VC Human Capital Survey conducted by Deloitte shows the venture capital industry is among the least diverse in finance. Let’s break it down. Nearly eight out of 10 VC investment partners in 2020 were white, 15% Asian, and just 3% Black. So successful capitalists need to change the playing field to invest exclusively in Black-owned firms.
Not all heroes wear capes, but they deserve recognition because it truly takes a village to help other Black people reach a higher level of success. According to CNBC News, trailblazer Marcus Whitney, the co-founder of Jumpstart Nova Fund, makes funding accessible to several Black-led firms. He was inspired by the 2020 protests following the death of George Floyd after feeling a cultural shift from investors he’s been acquainted with for years. Marcus seized on the investor’s willingness as an opportunity to raise capital to invest in Black-led firms.
Marcus explained when talking to investors, “The number one question was, hey, this sounds great. I want to be a part of it. But are there actually enough deals out there?” Marcus understood the assignment and had no trouble finding companies to invest in him; thus, his business has invested exclusively in Black-led health firms.
Jumpstart Nova fund’s first investment was Cellevolve, a company designed to help make it easier for those researchers to connect with biotech companies. In addition to investing, Marcus took a seat on Cellevolve’s board. The investments didn’t stop there. The Jumpstart Nova Fund has been running the bag up and has invested $55 million from backers including Eli Lilly, HCA Healthcare, and Bank of America. We love to see how Black folks are making it happen and looking out for each other!
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