In Finance, Insight

There’s a new fund in town and the investments will be made expressly for women founders of color. The New Voices Fund and New Voices Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit arm is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis and is consistent with a long-standing tradition and business philosophy of “taking care of and investing back in the community”.

When the acquisition of Sundial brands to Unilever was announced it came with an announcement that they would create an new investment vehicle to empower minority women entrepreneurs. They started the New Voices Fund with an initial $50 million commitment.

The New Voices Fund shares the numbers:

  • Among women, black women’s business ownership is growing the fastest. Between 1997 – 2015, the number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322%.
  • Only .2% of women of color entrepreneurs receive venture capital funding.
  • 8 out of 10 new women-owned businesses launched since 2007 were started by a non-white woman.
  • Female-led companies that receive venture funding have been found to outperform their male peers by as much as 63%.

This fund is not simply showing up with with a check they are reframing the traditional investment methodology the has not served women of color entrepreneurs. The fund has created a model that provides access, capital and expertise. The fund will support start-ups, established businesses, and community-based enterprises by working with businesses as early as Seed round to and through Series C funding.

There are three investment programs available through the Fund and Foundation:

  1. Equity Investments. Private equity and venture capital investments are available through the Fund to startups and established businesses.
  2. Recoverable Grants through the Foundation will be awarded to businesses of interest not ready for equity or other forms of investment.
  3. Mission-related investments and loans through the foundation will be made to advance businesses which a grant is no longer appropriate but more traditional forms of capital investment are still premature.

Since Since the soft launch of the website in February, $30 million has been invested or committed in the following eight companies according to Happi:

Photo: Christian Fregnan via Unsplash 

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