“Our thesis is that entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly viable path for the new majority to build wealth; however, this is not without historical obstacles,” he says. Melissa Bradley, founder and managing partner of 1863 Ventures. “It costs a black founder at least a quarter of a million dollars more to create the same business as their white peers. Based on structural racism and generations of economic deprivation — with all the challenges that marginalized people continue to suffer — it’s unrealistic to expect a New Majority company to have the same trajectory and growth as their white counterparts.”
To that end, the 1863 Fund is dedicated to improving the state of innovation and entrepreneurship for both New Majority founders and ecosystem creators by stimulating member companies through equity investment or alternative revenue-based funding models. Across the country, the fund invests strategic capital in a variety of industries, including fintech, software, hair and beauty equipment, healthcare and bakery products. The challenges of the coronavirus will continue to be present. It is critical for portfolio companies to remain nimble and adapt to emerging markets. In the midst of a volatile business environment, 1863 Fund provided much-needed cash flow to increase the survival of portfolio companies and maintain their profitability.
“The 1863 investment kept me afloat during these turbulent times,” he says Ashley Marie RouseFounder of culinary inspired and vegan Trade Street Jam Cowhich will produce 4,600 gallons of jam this year and grow to 1 million dollars in income. “We have a product-based business, and we can’t make money without product! The investment dollars allow us to provide raw materials that are now at a higher price, that we traditionally wouldn’t be able to afford.”
Portfolio company founders also benefited from the network and advice of the experienced 1863 Ventures team. Jean Brownhill reinvents home remodeling contracts with Sweeten up and recently secured new investors, thanks to Melissa Bradley cultivated institutional relations.
In an overview of Fund 1863’s investments, portfolio companies are ramping up operations with increased product inventory, additional seed funding from other investors, administrative and infrastructure improvements, expanded workforces and larger advertising budgets:
- Lilii RNB Inc.a retail data detection, prevention and services firm, closed 3 million dollars in basic financing.
- Technology startup and career development program, Mentor methodraised 1.6 million dollars in venture funding, they’ve landed clients such as Amazon and the Ministry of Education, doubled revenue in one year and grown their team from two staff members to 11 in seven months.
- Vegan bakery Keeping You Sweet hired four additional employees and increased their sales by 129%, return customer rate by 75%, and e-commerce conversion by 171%.
- Moisture Lovemanufacturer of natural hair care products, increased its website conversion rate by 16% and reduced customer acquisition costs by 74%.
- Naasakle International manufactures business lines including Eugenia Shea100% all-natural shea butter and skin care brand, and announced a new partnership with QVC, increased its door count with Target, and confirmed a launch at another major pharmaceutical retailer.
- Brown toy box is an educational toy company that produces and maintains STEAM toys, media and experiences for Black children and recently launched in stores and online at Target.
- Sweeten up connects potential home renovators with quality construction work to take advantage of competitive bids and fair appraisals and grow its award-winning projects year after year in Chicago (337%), Philadelphia (125%) i Angels (80%).
1863 Ventures is proud to invest in early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve scale and generational wealth. 1863 Fund is an integral part of 1863 Ventures initiatives for business development 100 billion dollars in wealth to and for the new majority by 2030. Learn more about the companies in the portfolio of Fund 1863 in 2021 Impact Report.
About 1863 Ventures
1863 Ventures is the nation’s #1 nonprofit business development and venture capital accelerator for emerging majority entrepreneurs, individuals who have historically been marginalized. The DC-based organization supports over 1,500 founders worldwide United States through curriculum and grant support. 1863 Ventures also funds 13 portfolio companies, investing more than 2 million dollars in strategic capital in the fintech, software, hair care and beauty, healthcare and bakery sectors. Learn more at 1863ventures.net.
Contact: Maxwell Young1863 Ventures
Email: [email protected]
SOURCE 1863 Ventures