Last week, TechCrunch reported that black founders in the United States raised 1% of the $215.9 billion in venture capital allocated last year. That’s not to be confused with the 1.3% raised in 2021, the 0.8% raised in 2020, the 1% raised in 2019, or the 1.1% raised in both 2018 and 2017, according to Crunchbase data.
In case it’s not obvious why these numbers are so dire, it’s worth noting that African-Americans make up over 13% of the population.
Whenever these numbers are released, there are always a few people asking the same question: Where do we go from here? Is the next step to seek alternative financing or remain on the battlefield, always ready to fight?
It’s amazing 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 streams.
Oliver, who is based in Atlanta, is leveraging relationships to generate a pre-seed and angel round by leveraging local resources, such as the Atlanta Tech Village, and is also generating “founder rounds,” in which other founders invest in your company. .
“Overall, it sucks to be a black founder raising funds right now,” he continued, adding that an investor who funded early-stage companies once passed on his idea because he didn’t have a product built. (Typically, these investors back ideas, not products.) “When you have your back against the wall, that’s when you find out what you’re made of. Leverage your relationships, give to others first, what giving to you unlocks, and let’s be scrappy, everyone.”