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Pound Cake Cosmetics Wins $1 Million Black Ambition Grant

December 5, 2022
December 5, 2022
Pound Cake Cosmetics

Pound Cake Cosmetics takes home a $1 million financial award from Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition Grant to propel its mission to authentically highlight beauty lovers who are BIPOC, fat-identifying, trans, and nonbinary.

WHO: Founded in 2021 by Chief Executive Officer Camille Bell and Chief Branding Officer Johnny Velazquez, Pound Cake is a Black and Latinx-owned cosmetics company revolutionizing how color is made for darker skin. The duo began developing the concept as undergrads in Temple's entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, in 2016. The brand launched five liquid lipsticks developed with proprietary Tone Variant Technology for five different lip and skin tones that deliver a true red, liquid vegan lipstick for every skin color.

Black Ambition empowers Black and Latinx innovators and communities to excel, uninterrupted. Founded by Pharrell Williams in 2020, Black Ambition awards funding and resources to ventures in consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology, and Web 3.0, which are eligible to win up to $1MM. Black Ambition is supported by funding through Adidas, Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream in partnership with Aku, Chanel, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Jonah Peretti, Ron Conway/SV Angel, The Rockefeller Foundation, Visa Foundation, Lennar Foundation, Heineken, and Moncler.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "For the first time in this entire journey, I have finally felt seen and heard," said Pound Cake founder Camille Bell. "And that's thanks to everyone at Black Ambition. Seeing three black and brown faces staring back at me at the judges panel on Demo Day was such a surreal moment, and I don't take that for granted. I don't know any other programs that are out there like this one—that truly take the time and care to fully support in all facets, black and brown entrepreneurs."

"We are so proud of all of these entrepreneurs that went through the Black Ambition Prize program, and it's amazing to see these ideas and businesses come to life," Black Ambition founder Pharrell Williams said. "Black Ambition paves the way for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to turn their Mighty Dream into a reality."


  • Pound Cake Cosmetics won the $1 million Black Ambition Grand Prize. 
  • The launch of the brand was funded with $20K raised through a 2017 Indiegogo campaign and a Glossier $10,000 prelaunch grant in 2020. 
  • Pound Cake was named to the 2022 Ulta Beauty Muse Accelerator and hopes to launch in Ulta by next year. 
  • The brand has won consecutive Allure Best of Beauty awards. Their Maraschino Cherry lipstick was named one of the best lip products of the year in September 2021, days before the brand launched.

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