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investment

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Black Owned App for Beauty Salons and Stylists Has Raised Over $3 Million

ShearShare is a Black owned app that works like an Airbnb for hairstylists and barbers. Instead of renting houses, they rent salon and barbershop stations.

The company was created in 2017 when husband-and-wife team, Courtney and Dr. Tye Caldwell discovered that 40% of salon and barbershop space goes unused every day.

Black Owned App
Courtney Caldwell (R) and Dr. Tye Caldwell (L)

ShearShare helps stylists communicate directly with their clients, including about specials they might be offering. Throughout COVID-19, the company has been enabling licensed cosmetologists and barbers to rent a sanitized salon suite, station, or nearby barber chair by the day.

The spaces are provided on demand without having to sign a long-term contract or pay commissions. Salon and barbershop owners make money on their unused space at a time and price that’s convenient for them.

“As the second largest industry for freelancers turns its attention to a new operating normal, many beauty and barbering professionals are taking time to revisit their priorities, including how to better manage operating costs, maximize revenue, and access professional workspace on-demand,” said Courtney.

The company has, in total, raised $3.4 million in funding. According to the company, despite an economic slowdown,  they have experienced a 157% increase in users over the past few months.

Tye and Courtney said they will use the capital to fund product development, invest in marketing, and grow the now 16-person ShearShare team.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Meet the man in charge of over $100M recently donated to Black-Owned Businesses and HBCU’s.

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a non-profit financial institution that provides capital to projects in low-income, disadvantaged, and underserved communities at affordable rates.

LISC supports community development initiatives in 35 cities and across 2,100 rural counties in 44 states. In 2018, they reported grants, loans, and investments totaling US$1.5 billion, leveraging $4.4 billion in total development and supporting over 700 partners across America.

They recently received $60 million from Lowe’s, $40 million from MacKenzie Scott (ex-wife of Jezz Bezos), and $25 million from Netflix.

We caught up with their CEO, Maurice Jones, to discuss what his organization does and what they plan to do with these funds.

 

 

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Tony O. Lawson


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Minority Wealth Commission to raise $250 Million to boost Black Owned Businesses

The Minority Wealth Commission—a bi-partisan National Commission of diverse leaders representing a cross section of capital funding, procurement/contracting, economic development, and corporate/nonprofit leadership focused on minority businesses—announced today the launch of the FVLCRUM Fund.

The fund, with initial capital commitments of over $50 million, will raise a total of $250,000,000 to invest as a combination of equity and debt capital into proven, high-growth enterprises operated by people of color.

Clearinghouse CDFI—a national community development financial institution with a strong history of lending in communities of color—will help create and manage the FVLCRUM Fund. The fund brings together an exceptional team of private equity professionals with an established track record of investing in middle market minority owned businesses delivering strong investment returns. FVLCRUM Fund will make a sustainable and measurable impact towards closing the nation’s racial wealth gap by building wealth and business success for minorities.

“For too long minority businesses and communities have been disproportionately excluded from creating sustainable wealth,” said Henry Childs II, Executive Director of the Minority Wealth Commission and former National Director of the U.S Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. “Lack of investment, ownership, and wealth in minority communities stifles income potential, school systems, job outlook, and business opportunities.

Minority businesses represent less than 1.3% of the overall assets under management by the investment industry. It is time for us to address the racial wealth gap, invest in minority businesses and to take full advantage of the value, innovation, and competitiveness they bring to our overall economy.”

According to a study by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on Racial Equity, the U.S. stands to realize an $8 trillion gain in GDP just by closing the U.S. racial equity gap. This is more than the current GDP of every country in the world except the U.S. and China.

The Minority Wealth Commission has three key objectives: (1) to raise a series of minority wealth investment funds targeted toward creating wealth in minority communities, (2) to reduce the startup capital gap for entrepreneurs of color, and (3) to increase Assets Under Management (AUM) for diverse fund managers and increase the number of diverse fund managers in the industry.

“The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) joins the Minority Wealth Commission in recognizing and highlighting the importance of creating wealth in our minority business community,” said Ramiro A. Cavazos, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “As we know, there are 8 million minority-owned small businesses that form the backbone of our American economy. We must create real change to transform our minority entrepreneurs by investing in our businesses through increased corporate procurement, federal contracting, access to capital, and private equity, in order to prioritize more businesses for our African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and more minority entrepreneurs.”

To facilitate investment in minority communities, the Minority Wealth Commission is focused on strategies that stimulate economic opportunity and mobility, encourage entrepreneurship, expand quality educational opportunities, and ultimately eradicate the racial wealth gap. The MWC is leading an effort to level-set capital investment parity for minority businesses and next-generation entrepreneurs of color that can expand our economy and impact our communities.

“Closing the RACIAL WEALTH GAP is an overriding issue of the NATION,” said Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League. “Lifting a generation of BLACK entrepreneurs by linking them to capital, connections, and contracts is a viable wealth gap closing strategy.”

“This fund represents transformative opportunities for minority-owned businesses, many disproportionately struggling from the devastating impacts of the pandemic,” said Delores Brown—Chairperson of the Clearinghouse CDFI Community Advisory Board—who also runs a nonprofit in South Los Angeles. “There is much work to be done to build a more equitable society. We hope to inspire other organizations and investors to take action.”

The Minority Wealth Commission and FVLCRUM Fund have already established a broad base of institutional and community partners dedicated to fundamental change for wealth creation in communities of color. This includes the National Urban League, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., among several other organizations throughout the U.S.

Source: PrWeb.com

Tony O. Lawson


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LeBron James, Maverick Carter Raise $100M To Build a Media Empire

LeBron James and his longtime business partner Maverick Carter have reportedly launched a new venture to expand their media empire.

The pair raised $100 million to start the SpringHill Co., a conglomerate that aims to produce content from usually marginalized voices, Bloomberg Businessweek reported Thursday.

“When we talk about storytelling, we want to be able to hit home, to hit a lot of homes where they feel like they can be a part of that story,” James told the magazine. “And they feel like, Oh, you know what? I can relate to that.”

lebron james

With James as chairman and Carter as CEO, the firm combines the duo’s SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted LLC, which have birthed entertainment projects such as a forthcoming “Space Jam” sequel and an HBO talk show, with a marketing agency called the Robot Co., according to Businessweek.

SpringHill was reportedly formed on the same day in March that the NBA suspended its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the ensuing lockdowns haven’t hampered the company’s early days — Carter recently inked a TV deal with Disney and has a basketball-themed Netflix film in the works, Businessweek reported.

James and Carter reportedly attended the same high school that James left to join the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. The pair worked together on “The Decision,” a live broadcast of James’ 2010 announcement that he was leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat, Businessweek reported. They went on to start SpringHill Entertainment, which shares its name with the Akron, Ohio, apartment complex where James grew up.

lebron james

The pair’s new company is backed by a slate of investors including Guggenheim Partners, UC Investments, SC Holdings and News Corp. heir Elisabeth Murdoch, with a board that includes tennis legend Serena Williams, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner and LiveNation CEO Michael Rapino, Businessweek’s lengthy profile says. (News Corp. owns The Post.)

“This is ultimately a company that’s about point of view, the community you serve, and empowerment,” investment banker Paul Wachter, who helped facilitate the project and also sits on the board, told Businessweek. “This is a company designed to move the culture.”

 

Source: NY Post


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Serena Williams Invests in Mahmee, a Startup Fighting Maternal Mortality

After Serena Williams gave birth to her daughter in 2018, she shared the life-threatening complications she experienced—and how, as a Black woman, she was three times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes.

Now Williams—through her firm Serena Ventures—has invested in digital maternal health care company, Mahmee.

Mahmee  uses predictive analytics to provide personalized, on-demand support to new mothers and infants. Mahmee members can book appointments — both in-home and virtual — with a growing network of highly-qualified postpartum care providers, including registered nurses, board-certified lactation consultants, registered dietitians, certified massage therapists,  and more.

Mahmee also features a private messaging hotline, online support groups led by experts, and a personalized dashboard of content and advice that evolves with mom and baby through every age and stage.

Mahmee, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer Melissa Hanna

About 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Three in five of those deaths are preventable, and one-third of those deaths happen up to a year after the birth.

Williams was joined in the $3 million funding round by angel investor Mark Cuban, as well as  Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital.

 

 

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NFL Players are Investing Over $800,000 in a 12-year-old’s Lemonade Business

A group of former and current NFL players, led by former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, have invested $810,000 in 12-year-old Mikaila​ Ulmer’s booming lemonade business, Me & the Bees Lemonade .

This investment was made  through Foster along with Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin, Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown and former Texans running back Jonathan Grimes.

Other NFL players include safety Omar Bolden, linebacker Bobby Wagner, cornerback Darius Slay, cornerback Sharrick McManis, quarterback EJ Manuel and defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

Mikaila started Me & the Bees Lemonade using her great grandmother’s flaxseed recipe at a lemonade stand. She eventually expanding and signed a deal with Whole Foods for approximately $11 million.

The product, which includes several flavors, is now sold at Wegman’s and other local stores.

Its important to say that this investment isn’t some charitable gesture. Me & the Bees Lemonade has reportedly grown more than 100 percent each year since 2014. That makes it a very attractive investment.

“We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product, but are also good people and do it for the right reasons,” Foster said.

“It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small black businesses is extremely important.”

Arian Foster

Quin told the Houston Chronicle, “She’s very special. Obviously, she has a bright future. Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit. I’m very impressed with her.”

Glover Quin and wife

“It’s awesome that I get to work with and around these two,” Ulmer said about Foster and Quin. “They’re very smart. I learned a lot from them.

I’m very happy that I’m able to work with them and they invested in my company and them helping us and mentoring us and believing in our mission. I think we have a better chance of achieving our goals. That keeps me pumped and excited every day.”

Folks, a group of Black professional athletes got together and invested in a Black owned business. I think a dream of mine just came true. #moreofthis #whosupnext

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson aka @thebusyafrican