Collab Capital, an early-stage investment fund focused on start-ups led by Black founders, announced the close of their inaugural $50 million fund.
With limited partners including Apple, Goldman Sachs, Google, PayPal, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Kapor Foundation, Mailchimp and others, this announcement is important to Collab Capital’s mission to build generational wealth by investing financial, human, and social capital to effectively support, grow, and sustain Black-owned innovative businesses.
Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist, Lecrae, currently serves as a venture partner with Collab Capital providing counsel and introductions to key contacts within various industries for these companies.
“I’m involved with Collab as a venture partner because I wanted to do more than invest money,” Lecrae said. “For so long these innovators had no other options to finance their startups and now they have options, education, mentors, and the capital to bring their vision to fruition. By leveraging my influence, I’m hoping to help Black entrepreneurs who would have been otherwise shut out of funding to reach their fullest potential.”
Jewel Burks Solomon, Justin Dawkins and Barry Givens founded Collab Capital with a vision to establish a pathway toward economic parity for the Black community, through increased ownership within the innovation economy.
Only one percent of Black founders are backed by venture capital which results in slower growth for Black-owned businesses. Collab Capital hopes to change that by providing flexible capital, network access and fostering community development.
“Black founders are among the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segment, but to this day, they remain the most underfunded and under-resourced group,” Givens said.
“Collab Capital is excited to announce the close of Fund I and provide Black business owners with the capital and resources they need to achieve their full potential. We believe this fund is an important step in narrowing the racial wealth disparity while driving sustained economic recovery across our country.”
The Collab team seeks to shift the narrative for capital access by providing additional pathways for Black founders than traditional venture capital. In addition to economic capital, each portfolio company will be supported with social capital by way of growth partners who bring their industry expertise and relationships to drive scalability.
Collab Capital’s board includes advisors from every sector including acclaimed business executives Steve Pamon, Rodney Adkins, and Kimberly A. Blackwell who leverage their expertise and network to identify the best partnerships to increase brand exposure and revenue for portfolio companies.
“Collab Capital took a critical look at the landscape for Black founders and developed a new and tailored approach that we believe will contribute to wealth generation in the Black community,” said Peter Sanborn, Managing Partner of PayPal Ventures. “We’re thrilled to support this team of talented investors as part of PayPal’s initiative to promote racial equity.”
Collab Capital’s growth-capital solution focuses on profitability, ownership, and optionality. Their SPACE agreement is an innovative model specifically designed to provide companies a structure for additional possible pathways for success, apart from a traditional exit, and return value as they grow.
Collab Capital has an interest in startups focused on providing unique and innovative solutions for the future of learning, work and care.
To date, Collab Capital has invested in four companies which include reinvented rain hat Hairbrella, music licensing company Music Tech Works and Jax Rideshare – a startup serving rideshare and delivery drivers in Atlanta, and DC-based startup Please Assist Me which partners with property management companies to provide residents with personal assistants.
The firm will invest in more than 50 Black-led companies over the next three to five years.
Interested founders and potential investors that wish to learn more about Collab Capital can visit https://collab.capital/. Follow the journey on social media on Twitter at @collab_capital and Instagram at @collab.capital.