Browse Tag

investing

/

Barbershop App theCut Raises $4.5M, Has Helped Barbers Generate $500M in Revenue

theCut is a mobile platform for barbers and clients modernizing the barbershop experience. Today, the company announced that they have raised $4.5 million in new funding.

The Northern Virginia-based startup provides information and reviews on barbers for potential customers while also helping barbers manage mobile payments, appointments, and other back end tasks.

Clients can easily search for and discover new barbers, then book and pay for haircuts at their convenience. After completing an appointment, clients can review the barber and shout out a job well done.

Barbers can then manage all those clients, appointments, and payments with one easy to use tool.

Founded in 2016 by high school best friends, Obi Omile Jr. and Kush Patel, theCut has successfully booked 2 million appointments by over 350,000 clients who visited 22,000 barbers across the country. This has helped barbers generate more than $500 million in revenue since the app launched.

Nextgen Venture Partners led the funding round and was joined by Leadout Capital, Elevate Ventures, and Singh Capital. This brings total funding to $5.35 million.

The new investment will be used to hire additional talent, marketing and grow the business across the country.

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter

/

Breakr Raises $4.2M to Amplify New Artist’s Music With The Help of Influencers

Breakr is a music marketing marketplace startup founded in late 2020. It recently announced that it has raised $4.2 million in seed funding. The announcement comes after Breakr has garnered attention from a long list of investors, including rap artist Nas.

“Independent artists have more opportunities than ever to break through, but those opportunities have required busywork that should’ve been solved already,” said Breakr’s co-founder and CEO, Tony Brown, in a recent interview. “Problem 1? Spending all day messaging to try and get your song heard. TikTok influencers have been pushing songs to the top of the charts, and with the shift to Twitch and Instagram Live DJ sets during the pandemic, we knew the world needed a solution.”

The app will serve as a marketplace where up-and-coming artists can connect with social media influencers and get their music heard, while influencers get paid to host listening sessions. Breakr has already produced over 150 million views for independent artists, put thousands of dollars into influencers’ pockets.

“We’ve worked with companies as big as Warner and Sony, as small as the SoundCloud rapper, and everybody in between,” mentioned founder and head of Product Ameer Brown, who formerly worked at Adobe.

The founders, including Ameer Brown, Dan Ware, and Rotimi Omosheyin, met while attending Florida A&M University. The group of studies witnessed the power of one-to-one communication and word-of-mouth marketing by promoting successful parties on campus.

“I immediately knew it would be the future. Having cultural icons like Erykah Badu and Dave Chapelle rock with my music and amplify me on their platforms was major for me. Now, with Breakr, we can make this happen for artists and influencers at every level,” said Tobe Nwigwe, an artist and one of Breakr’s co-founders.

As the world of music business and commerce continues to change, we’ll look to startups like Breakr to provide a solution to monetization for both artists and influencers alike.

Written by Reese Williams


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter


To advertise with us, click here

/

Collab Capital Raises $50 Million To Invest In Black Founders

Collab Capital is an Atlanta-based investment firm on a mission to establish an institution that provides a viable pathway to sustained wealth for the Black community.

In 2018, the firm launched with $2 million in capital, a $50 million target, and a mission to focus on investing in Black founders specifically.

Despite being told that their focus on Black founders was too narow and that there aren’t enough qualified Black founders to back, Collab Capital perservered and today announced that they have now raised over $50M to invest in the best Black led early stage startups over the next few years.

Black founders
Collab Capital founders: Barry Givens, Jewel Burks Solomon and Justin Dawkins

Backers include Apple, Goldman Sachs, Google, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mailchimp and PayPal, making it one of the largest funds closed from an entirely Black-led firm solely committed to Black founders.

The firm will invest in 50 startups across the US over the next 3–5 years. The majority of the investments will fund companies in cities like Atlanta,  DC, Houston, Detroit, St. Louis, and New Orleans, which have a high concentration of Black entrepreneurs and a low concentration of risk capital.

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and follow us on Facebook, Instagram Twitter


To advertise with us, click here

/

Upsie Raises $18.2 Million To Offer Lower Priced Consumer Warranties

Upsie is a more affordable warranty option for your electronic devices, appliances, and fitness equipment. They offer the same warranties and coverage as other companies and cost up to 70% less.

“I’m sure you’ve walked into a Best Buy or a Target, and when you’re checking out somebody at the register is offering you a warranty. But what most customers don’t know is that you’re paying as much as 900% more for that warranty than you should,” Upsie founder Clarence Bethea told TechCrunch.

upsie
Upsie founder, Clarence Bethea

“There’s no transparency at the register and you never get to ask what’s covered and what’s not covered, or what should you do if you need to make a claim.”

Upsie just finalized an $18.2 million Series A round that Bethea hopes will encourage other Black founders.

“Getting more dollars to Black and Brown founders is always top of mind in conversations—there’s still such a deficit,” Bethea said. “Today represents that it’s possible.”

True Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based firm, was the lead investor in the round. Other Twin Cities-based firms such as Matchstick Ventures and Bread & Butter Ventures also participated.

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and follow us on Facebook, Instagram Twitter


To advertise with us, click here.

/

Black Journalist Creates App To Help Viewers Connect and Review Favorite TV shows and Films.

PopViewers is an app that allows fans to connect and critique all of their favorite TV shows and films.

With user-generated content scores and reaction videos, PopViewers is ultimately shifting how we engage with content online and helps content providers when developing new movies and tv shows.

popviewers

They want to democratize the voices of those who watch, consume, and pay for all of this entertainment and empower them to get into the boardroom and pull up a chair at that table.

In this interview, I spoke with founder Chris Witherspoon about how Pop Viewers can be used to empowering Black creatives. We also discussed how PopViewers can help bring more diverse voices and opinions to Hollywood.

Don’t forget to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel!

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter

/

Black Data Scientist Creates a Digital Wallet For Lending and Borrowing Cryptocurrency

The World Data Science Institute is an SEC-registered financial data science research and development company. They develop Blockchain and financial technology applications.

So far, the startup has raised over $145,000 to launch its flagship product, CryptoShare. CryptoShare is a digital wallet and peer-to-peer lending app that provides the unbanked and credit challenged with the ability to borrow money.

THE PROBLEM

According to Fico statistics, African Americans have the lowest credit scores and are declined for loans three times as much as white applicants. Nearly 30% of African Americans and Hispanics do not have a bank account at all!

African Americans and Hispanics are also disproportionately forced to use high-interest cash advances and pawnshop loans that can be up to 500%.

This clearly shows that an inexcusable amount of African Americans and Hispanics do not have access to adequate loan products.

THE SOLUTION

CrypstoShare replaces the need for a bank account (think Paypal) and allows peer-to-peer lending to be done within the app, giving users the option to use physical and digital assets as collateral at much lower interest rates.

Physical assets can be placed in a Blockchain Smart Locker similar to the Amazon lockers that are used for deliveries.

The borrower places physical assets in the locker and if they don’t pay, the lender will have access to collateral in the locker or it will be mailed to them.

The digital wallets come with a Digital Debit Card so borrowers can use funds immediately to shop online and if they need cash they can withdraw from ATMs.

The most important part is interest rates will range from 10 – 20%. Essentially eliminating the need for expensive high interest loan options that plague the African American and Hispanic communities.

THE FOUNDER: Anade Davis

Anade Davis

What inspired you to start CryptoShare?

I have struggled with either credit and access to funding to grow businesses my entire life. Sometimes I struggled to have access to both at the same time!

As I grew older and traveled to different countries; I realized how many people were dealing with the same struggles internationally.

The problem is the current global banking and credit system excludes billions of people. One thousand US dollars ($1,000) is enough in many countries to jumpstart a business.

These are the reasons that inspired me to create a lending solution for people around the world utilizing Cryptocurrency and ATMs.

What advantages does CryptoShare offer borrowers and lenders?

  • It’s convenient. The only document borrowers will need to provide is their ID.
  • It’s flexible. Ability to customize the loan terms to suit lenders’ needs. Both borrower and lender can customize their loan terms according to their requirements.
  • It’s accessible to everyone because there is no need for a bank account, credit score, or income statement.

How can people support you right now?

You can support us by investing as little as $100 before the investor close date of October 1!

 

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


To advertise, click here for info.

/

$20 Million Agriculture and Food Investment Fund Aims to Improve Black Health and Wellness

TPP Capital Holdings (TPP) is a Black owned impact fund manager and healthcare real estate development firm on a mission to change the face of Black health by investing in agribusiness, agriculture, indoor vertical farms/greenhouses, farmland development, health-focused food and beverage enterprises with Black and Brown ownership located in federally qualified opportunity zones throughout the country.

To date, TPP has commitments to provide direct investments through Fund I, including a $2M investment commitment in Vertical Harvest LC3, a Jackson, Wyoming, agri-business that has built a profitable sustainable model for urban hydroponic farms. Other commitments include a $5M equity investment in the construction and operation of a 70,000-square-foot greenhouse that will grow one million pounds of fresh produce annually. The site will be accompanied by 50 affordable units housing for farm workers.

In this interview with founders Anthony Miles and Clinton Bush, we discuss TPP’s plan to reduce food deserts, health disparities, and burdens of chronic medical conditions in the Black community. We also discuss how they can help Black entrepreneurs manufacture healthy food and beverage brands.

Don’t forget to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel!

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


Get your SHOPPE BLACK Tees and Hoodies!

 

/

Venture Investment Opportunities in the Caribbean

Dmitri Dawkins is a Jamaica based entrepreneur and investor. He serves as managing director at Graft Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on scaling Caribbean-based businesses.

investment opportunities

In this interview, we discuss the investment climate in Jamaica and what effects the pandemic has had on opportunities there.

We also discuss some misconceptions about the Jamaican economy as well as the unique advantages and challenges that the Caribbean region has compared to US or European markets.

Don’t forget to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to our channel!

 

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter

/

Why Black Art Should Be Part Of Your Investment Portfolio

With the increasing knowledge that art is a viable alternative asset, the rising interest in art by Black artists, coupled with the number of ways we can now invest in art, “Black art”, or African & Diaspora art should be considered as part of your investment portfolio.

A huge advocate of this asset class is art collector and entrepreneur, Freda Isingoma. Freda is the founder of KIISA, an investment & advisory firm focused on developing investment solutions for the Contemporary African & Diaspora Art market and ecosystem.

We caught up with her to learn more about investing in art and why she is so passionate about supporting the work of Black artists around the world.

What inspired you to start KIISA?

KIISA started as a response to a need and a gap that I identified in the African and Diaspora art market. Although my background is in investment banking and entrepreneurship, I have always loved art and have been collecting African & Diaspora art for 20 years. My collecting journey gave me an insight into the market and its dynamics.

black art
Alexis Peskine – Paris

This then prompted me to do a course on “Curating Contemporary Art” and the University of the Arts London, which gave me a bit of background on the more research element of the art world. It’s then that I started to further investigate the African and Diaspora art ecosystem as a whole and really understand what the gaps were.

Keyezua – Angola

After many conversations with mentors, I am glad I got to where I am now, where our focus is on developing a new “story” around African & Diaspora art investments and ecosystem development, and I get to leverage my skills and experience in finance, art collecting, and economic analysis.

KIISA is a pioneer in the Art Investments sector, providing investors with the opportunity to participate in Alternative Asset Funds that are intentionally designed to not only provide long term returns, but also develop impact solutions that drive the growth, visibility, knowledge, and sustainability of the Contemporary African and Diaspora art market.

Amy Sherald – America

Why do you prefer the term “African & Diaspora Art” over “Black Art”?

Many in the art world use either or. I specifically use African & Diaspora Art as it suggests the global footprint and impact of the Black artistic community, history, culture, identity, language, and much more. Ultimately, art made by Black artists is simply art.

Why is there a growing interest in African & Diaspora art? 

The interest in African & Diaspora art has always been there and that’s evident by the fact Classic African art influenced Early European and American Art movements including Cubism, Fauvism, German Expressionism, and American Modernism. We see this in the works of Picasso, Matisse, and Gaugin to name a few.

Furthermore, there has been interest in Modern and Contemporary art by Black artists over the years, but the main issue is that the interest has largely been shallow and inconsistent. The current spotlight on art by Black artists has mainly been generated by a wider interest from the Black community to collect art and be part of cultural economic growth, particularly the younger generation of collectors.

black art
Victor Ehikhamenor – Nigeria

While we have always had collectors within the Black community globally, there has been this misconception that art by Black artists is in main collected by Europeans and other non-Black communities. This is simply not true. The current wave of new collectors that are framing the new dynamic, is being driven by the acknowledgment of art collecting as a way of building cultural equity, preserving heritage, and also participating in an alternative investment growth story.  

Saying that, there has been a rising focus on Black artists by Western art museums and institutions post the protests in the US and globally last Summer. This is due to the fact that many of them were forced to finally face the racial disparities in their collections and programming and at the same time address this bias within the Western art cannon overall. If you ask me how much impact this will make, the jury is still out. There has been more virtue signaling to date, than measurable action. 

Lina Iris Viktor – United Kingdom

Why is it important to increase the number of Black people investing in African & Diaspora?

Any community needs to be the bedrock and foundation of their art ecosystem and cultural expression. I often draw similarities to the Chinese Art market emergence during the last global economic downturn 12 years ago and the intentional build of what is now a dominant art market player.

Although we are dealing with 54 countries and a global diaspora base, Black collectors are realizing that they are an essential part of the art ecosystem as a whole. If we look at art as a language and a way of telling the stories that document our cultural history and current social and political dynamics, it makes sense that these pieces of cultural documentation (and pride), inherent to your own cultural background, are collated and kept. In doing so, it builds a legacy of cultural heritage preservation, that will be shared with, and inform generations to come. 

black art
Goncalo Mabunda Maputo – Mozambique

The other significance in Black collectors taking a greater interest in building cultural equity ownership through collecting art, is that its organically spearheading this wave of new initiatives, collaborations, and technology focused on facilitating growth within the art economy.

Not only will this intensify the much needed demand for art by Black artists, but it will also transform the number of ways in which we invest in it. Furthermore, collectors are not only custodians of art, many are also patrons. Greater patronage makes sure that art/educational institutions and cultural centers continue to serve the local community adequately.

black art
Ndidi Emefiele – Nigeria

What roles can Black owned galleries and museums play in strengthening the market for African & Diaspora?

Black owned galleries and museums on the Continent and Black communities globally, play a vital and critical role in the growth of the African & Diaspora market. We are at a pivotal time in Africa’s artistic history where the repatriation debate is gaining momentum, and additionally where the demand for Modern and Contemporary African & Diaspora art has caught the attention of the art world.

Fundamentally, art museums are shared public spaces dedicated to promoting and educating on artistic and cultural knowledge, while preserving the heritage and artistic integrity of the local community. As a result, they form the foundational pillar of any cultural ecosystem. Therefore, it’s imperative that the community from which the art, the practice, and narrative originate, are also the primary validators of that art. This should not in any way stop the art from being shown, celebrated, engaged within other regions and nations.

Black owned galleries also play an important function too. They not only serve as a powerful portal to communicate the narrative of the artistic production from the community, they cultivate and reinforce a dynamic arts culture and economy that promotes the local artistic talent. This is essential, as it supports the growth, and investment of, artists within the Black community.

Additionally, they in turn nurture the development of collectors and art practitioners (e.g. curators and secondary market advisors), which is a critical component of the ecosystem development. Furthermore, galleries naturally then become procurers of ancillary services in adjacent and complementary businesses/industries in their local communities, as well as attracting “art” tourism, which can be catalysts for economic growth and infrastructural development within that community.

Underplaying the importance of Black owned museums and galleries hinders the empowerment of home-grown narratives and talent, while subsequently weakening the advancement of the domestic artistic community. 

black art
Fahamu Pecou -America

What are the first steps to becoming an art investor?

There a few ways in which you can invest in the art market. The obvious way is through building a collection. My advice is always to just start. Once you start, you get to sharpen your eye and taste, while at the same time learning more about the industry, its nuances, peculiarities ad possibilities.

I am a fan of “burning shoe leather”, whether it’s in person or virtual, through attending Art Fairs, studio visits, galleries, auctions, Art School final year shows, and even residencies. Routinely doing this helps to build relationships with artists, curators, dealers, and other collectors, that help to inform how to build your collection. Building a collection of significance can be fun, but it does take time to really define your taste, demystify the dynamics of the market and build relationships.

There’s no cheat sheet for this. The key is to buy what you love, that way you won’t look back and have any regrets. Do your research, then buy with your eyes and heart, not your ears, because trends in this market come and go just like any other industry.

The other ways to invest in the market are through art investment vehicles, which include art funds and syndicates. The last 12 years has seen a significant increase in the number of art investment vehicles launched because art typically produces returns that have little or no correlation to traditional stock and bond investments.

There was a recent study done by Morgan Stanley that showed that HNWIs have between 5-10% of their net worth invested in art. This is not surprising as alternative assets tend to be seen as a safer way of diversifying the overall risk of your investment portfolio, particularly when stock markets are overheated or/and volatile.

Furthermore, investing in art offers tax advantages, potential hedging against inflation/currency risk, and tends to hold its value over time irrespective of economic sentiment. Structured art investment vehicles offer an opportunity for investors to pool their investment with others, thereby diversifying their exposure to individual art holdings while increasing their exposure to a wider variety of art. Furthermore, they present an opportunity to benefit from the expertise of art investment specialists who understand how to operate in what is generally regarded as a potentially lucrative, but non-transparent market. 

The other channel is through Bitcoin. I am quite excited to see what impact Bitcoin will make in the market, and how it can democratize investment in art. Although the impact is still too small to measure, I believe it has the potential to be revolutionary, particularly for Black artists and Black investors in art. Currently, there are platforms being created to address this. We wait and see!

 

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Tees and Hoodies!

/

Black Owned EdTech App Raises $10.6 Million in Two Years

A year after it raised a seed round of $3.1m, Nigerian Education Technology (Edtech) platform, uLesson announced last week that it has closed a $7.5m Series A round.

US-based Owl Ventures led the financing round. The VC fund is the largest fund focused on the world’s edtech market, with over $1.2 billion in assets under management.

uLesson, the largest and fastest-growing learning platform in West Africa, is trying to bridge educational gaps for K-7 to K-12 students in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gambia.

The online education platform launched in March of 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. However, due to school closings, students turned to online learning.  Between March and August, the company saw its number of paid subscribers quintuple.

Black Owned EdTech

“We are now witnessing an increased availability of data networks in Africa. With more affordable smartphones and the change in attitudes towards online learning accelerated by COVID-19, the foundations are now in place for an education revolution.

At uLesson, we know we have a critical role to play in this ‘new normal’ and this funding will be crucial in our drive to fill the major gaps in Africa’s education system through tech,” said Sim Shagaya, founder and CEO of uLesson.

 

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Tees and Hoodies!

 

1 2 3 4