Despite the growth of new Black-owned businesses springing up around the country, many of them do not receive the necessary resources they need to thrive like their white counterparts. Now, one venture capital collective is looking to turn more than 300 Black entrepreneurs into angel investors to support emerging Black brands.
The BLCK VC was created with the idea of bringing diversity to the investing ecosystem, especially in the case of Black businesses. Frederik Groce, principal at Storm Ventures and co-founder of BLCK VC, says programs like this are needed to help these businesses thrive.
“It is widely known that venture capital is sorely in need of initiatives that will increase diversity. Only 1% of venture-backed startups have a Black founder and less than 3% of venture investors are Black,” wrote Groce in a Medium article about the new initiative.
“It is hard not to see how these two numbers are tightly correlated in an industry built on “warm introductions” and “networking” as the main source of receiving funding and gaining employment. Networking isn’t only about transactional interactions (sure, there’s plenty of that) — it is also a means of knowledge transfer and education between colleagues. Engineering and maximizing these networking opportunities is critical in building a thriving community. To that end, it has been one of our primary focuses from the early days of BLCK VC.
“The goal of the program is to train 300 students over the course of three years to establish a new network of Black investors and advisers to invest in Black brands. It is our belief that programs like the Black Venture Institute will meaningfully drive more equitable access and opportunities and inspire others to work toward those same goals,” Groce wrote.
“It is our hope that graduating participants will go on to achieve everything from incredible operating careers, to becoming limited partners in funds, angel investing in the friends and family rounds of diverse founders, founding category-defining companies; and yes, becoming venture capitalists themselves.”