20 Black Angels Worth Knowing For Minority Startups

The number of black investors funding startups is small but growing

(Image: File)
(Image: File)

Daymond John helped revolutionize urban fashion in the 1990s as founder, president, and CEO of FUBU (“For Us, By Us”). He guided the iconic brand into a multimillion-dollar business, placing it at the same table with such designer sportswear labels as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger.

These days, John is known for being a “shark” on the hit reality series “Shark Tank”. Every Friday night, some seven million viewers tune in to the ABC show that features a panel of investors, or “sharks,” that consider offers from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking capital. John, a member of the cast since the show’s premiere in 2009, along with four other prominent chief executives listens to business pitches (a contestant’s one-hour pitch is edited down to a 10-minute segment) from everyday people hoping to take their company or product to new heights. Using their own money, the sharks have invested more than $20 million, having completed more than 30 deals with an average valuation of $250,000. John is the show’s second leading investor.

Studies show that African American-owned firms are less likely to receive angel investment. In the first half of 2013, only 8.5% of startups pitching to angels were minority-owned; 16% were women-led, according to a report by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Only 15% of those minority-owned businesses successfully got funded, while 24% of the female entrepreneurs received angel investments. Moreover, ethnic minorities account for less than 5% of the angel population.

Like John, a number of people are providing startup and early stage capital to companies, including those owned by minorities. Take tennis champion Serena Williams, who invested in the mobile and video sharing app Mobli. And actor Wendell Pierce has invested in a chain of convenience stores, Sterling Express, and a grocery store called Sterling Farms.

Having a business idea or product that resonates with a potential investor is key to raising capital, says John, who has created a namesake three-day program, the Daymond John Academy, to help entrepreneurs from those just starting out to the experienced. “People come to guys like us because we do not impose the restrictions or the number of requests that the banks and the financial institutions do,” he says. “We do risk investments. Ten percent of our capital ends up creating a return, and the return is greater than all the risks taken.”

An angel is an affluent person who invests his or her own money in a business startup, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. In the U.S. there are currently about 7.2 million accredited investors, or individuals who earn $200,000 or more each year or whose net worth (not including their home) exceeds $1 million. Deals can range from $150,000 to $1 million, but the average angel investment in the first half of 2013 was $337,850.


For entrepreneurs seeking accredited investors Blackenterprise.com identified 20 angels you should know about.

  1. Troy Carter, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Atom Factor
  2. Simone Castillo, Office of the Vice Chair, Tax, KPMG
  3. Ken Coleman, Special Adviser, Andreessen Horowitz
  4. William Crowder, Partner, DreamIt Ventures
  5. Stephen DeBerry, Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Bronze Investments
  6. Erica Duignan Minnihan, Managing Partner, DreamIt Ventures
  7. Jon Gosier, Founder, D8A Group, UpStream Analytics, and adviser at SiftDeck
  8. Michael Howard, Founder and Managing Member, MJH Group
  9. Charles Hudson, Partner, SoftTech VC
  10. Daymond John, Founder, FUBU; CEO, Shark Branding
  11. Paul Judge, Chief Research Officer and VP, Barracuda Networks
  12. Lauren Maillian Bias, Founder and CEO, Luxury Market Branding
  13. Erik Moore, Founder and Managing Partner, Base Ventures
  14. Valerie Mosley, Chairwoman, Valmo Ventures
  15. Ati Okelo Williams, Founder, DC Home Buzz
  16. Eghosa Omoigui, Managing Partner, EchoVC Partners
  17. Lorine Pendleton, U.S. Director of Business Development, Dentons
  18. Tim Reese, Co-founder, Minority Angel Investors Network
  19. Rodney Sampson, Founder, Opportunity Up
  20. Adaora Udoji, Founder, The Boshia Group

“Angel investing is important to the entrepreneurial and investment ecosystem, particularly as it relates to job creation, disrupting poverty and closing the wealth gap in America,” says Rodney Sampson, angel investor and executive in charge of diversity and inclusion for “Shark Tank” and One Three Media (A Hearst/Mark Burnett Production JV). Sampson encourages black accredited investors to become angels and to learn how to invest or co-invest (via seed and venture funds). He recently created blackangels.US as an extension of his Opportunity.UP: Unleashing Private Equity conference program.

“Investing is the ultimate way to give back. It offers the greatest opportunity to create generational wealth and opportunities for sustainability for generations to come,” adds Sampson who wrote “Kingonomics: Twelve Innovative Currencies for Transforming Your Business and Life Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Where Deals Are Made”, the slogan of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, also includes the deal flow of angel investment. Returning to Columbus, Ohio, for the second time (May 14–17, Hyatt Regency), the conference will serve as a gathering place of angels. Entrepreneurs will get the chance to meet with and present their businesses to investors who are looking to write checks for enterprises that are fundable and scalable.

18 Responses to 20 Black Angels Worth Knowing For Minority Startups

  1. Rodney Sampson says:

    It’s important to clarify that an angel investor doesn’t have to be an accredited investor. It simply requires that a willing investor be willing to invest, learn the investment ecosystem and understand the risk associated with investing in startups.

  2. Alex Echols says:

    Awesome list of black entrepreneurs and individuals who are helping others fund, expand and share their gifts.

  3. AMBER €UROS says:

    Excellent share! I was familiar with a few – but this is a great resource.

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  18. Al Dodds says:

    My name is Al Dodds and I am the inventor of the Weave Hair Dryer Box (WHDB), which is a device that drys weave hair in about an hour, as opposed to the traditional 8-10 hours of air drying. The WHDB was published by the USPTO on 8-4-16 (US 14613957 patent application number). I am requesting $25000 to address marketing/prototype fine tuning/sales of the WHDB. You will find below detail information about the WHDB:

    WHDB Write-up

    1) Is there a need for a device to dry weave hair?

    Based upon an article written by the Huffington Post dated 1-24-14, entitled ” The Changing Business Of Black Hair, A Potentially $500b industry: link to the article:


    This article reflects the spending habits of Black Americans on Weave Hair.
    There are currently are no device that address the maintenance of drying Weave Hair. Some of the common current approaches to drying Weave Hair are displayed in an article entitled “Ladies here are 23 ways you can dry your weave”
    link to the article:

    All of the approaches reference above requires time consuming process to dry, usually 8-10 hours.

    2) How was the WHDB conceived?

    In July of 2014, my youngest daughter, who wears weave hair, was preparing for a date later that night. She started in the morning washing her weave hair and placed it outside to dry for 8-10 hours. I thought to myself there have to be a quicker way to dry weave hair. I conducted online research on drying Weave Hair and discovered that the only means to speed up the drying process were the usage of absorbent towels, which reduced the drying time by mere fraction of the traditional 8-10 hours of air drying. I pondered on this subject for several days before the idea of the Weave Hair Dryer Box (WHDB) came to my mind.

    3) How does the WHDB function?

    The WHDB consist of the following features: A) Weave Hair Dryer Plates (WHDP); B) Weave Hair Dryer Sheets (WHDS): C) Weave Hair Dryer Retractable Track (WHDR) and D) Weave Hair Dryer Heater (WHDH).

    A: Weave Hair Dryer Plates (WHDP), WHDP is an apparatus designed to stabilize Weave Hair during the drying process. WHDP is equipped with small hooks which secure Weave Hair during the drying process and it help to maintain the texture of the Weave Hair being dried.

    B: Weave Hair Dryer Sheet (WHDS), WHDS is a sheet of plexus glass placed in between the Right and Left side of the WHDP, which it allow both sides of the WHDP to be utilized during the drying process without compromising the texture of the Weave Hair being dried on either side of the WHDP.

    C: Weave Hair Dryer Retractable Track (WHDRT)
    WHDRT is a retractable track that support the WHDP during the drying process.The WHDRT is attached to the left and right walls of the WHDB.
    The WHDRT will make it easier to retrieve the WHDP to place/remove Weave Hair to be serviced.

    D: Weave Hair Dryer Heater (WHDH)
    The WHDH is a standard temperature control heat/blower that is affixed to the WHDB. WHDH is powered by electrical power source. The WHDH circulates heated air within the WHDB, thus creating a dehydrating environment, which will dehydrate the Weave Hair secured in the WHDP,producing the desired result of dry Weave Hair for styling/wear in about an hour.

    4) What is the Patent status of the WHDB?

    The WHDB is a “Utility” pending patent that was published by the USPTO on 8-4-16. The USPTO assigned number to the WHDB patent application is : US 14613957. The WDHB ‘s patent application was completed by a Patent Attorney from Little Rock, Arkansas.

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