January 24, 2024
VC Firm Zeal Launches BBFI Fund To Expand Capital And Support For Black Tech Founders, Appoints New Managing Director
In her new role, Thomas will lead Zeal Capital Partners' pioneering Barclays Black Formation Investments initiative.
Venture capital firm Zeal Capital Partners has appointed Stefanie Thomas as managing director to spearhead its expanded commitment to inclusive investing. Thomas brings over a decade of experience backing diverse founders and emerging companies.
In her new role, Thomas will lead Zeal’s pioneering Barclays Black Formation Investments (BBFI) initiative, Essence reported. Backed by Barclays, BBFI provides critical early-stage capital and support to talented Black founders building high-growth tech startups.
As Zeal founder Nasir Qadree stated, “We’re thrilled to welcome Stefanie to Zeal Capital Partners, to spearhead a timely effort to propel the next generation of diverse entrepreneurs and companies shaping the future of technology and business at scale.”
Thomas shares this mission to expand access to capital so innovative teams and ideas can thrive. Her diverse background gives her a unique lens to identify talented founders with important business concepts that can create value and impact.
With the launch of the pioneering BBFI fund, Zeal is dramatically expanding capital and support for Black founders in tech. Thomas’ appointment represents a major investment in this initiative. As she stated, unlocking value for the industry and world begins with funding the most talented yet overlooked teams.
“My work and life experiences have helped me to see investment opportunities beyond a traditional investing lens, and I’m looking forward to using that experience to identify founders with unique and important ideas that will unlock value for both our industry and the world,” the new managing director said according to Essence.
This work aligns with Zeal’s commitment to inclusive investing and empowering new voices in venture capital. As Qadree emphasized, Thomas’ leadership will continue Zeal’s focus on generating outsized returns, uplifting diverse teams, and cultivating the next generation of VC investors, Essence reported.
Previously, Thomas was a founding investor at Impact America Fund (IAF), helping expand it from $7 million to over $100 million.
Now at Zeal, she will have the opportunity to leverage her experience backing overlooked founders to unleash the potential of diverse entrepreneurship.