Browse Tag


6 mins read

Unleashing the Potential of Investing in Black-Owned Consumer Brands

Over the past few years, there has been an increasing acknowledgment of the significance of supporting, funding, and investing in Black-owned consumer brands.

One of the most promising areas for investment in Black-owned businesses is the consumer goods sector. This sector includes a wide range of products and services, such as food, beverages, personal care products, and apparel.

Black-owned consumer brands frequently introduce innovative products that cater not only to the requirements of Black consumers but also to a wide range of customers. Furthermore, these brands tend to prioritize social consciousness and actively contribute to their communities.

By highlighting recent statistics and projections, we will shed light on the potential for investors to make a significant impact while reaping financial rewards.

Food & Beverage

The Food & Beverage industry represents an enticing opportunity for investors looking to support and invest in Black-owned businesses. According to a report by Nielsen, Black consumers spent $153.5 billion on food and beverages in the United States in 2022. This represents a 4.1% increase from the previous year.

Black-owned food and beverage brands have been gaining recognition for their innovation, authenticity, and cultural appeal. These brands offer unique flavors and culinary experiences that resonate with a diverse customer base.

Additionally, investing in this sector aligns with the rising demand for healthier and ethically sourced products, as many Black-owned brands emphasize organic, sustainable, and locally sourced ingredients.

Household Goods

Investing in Black-owned household goods brands presents an opportunity to tap into the growing market for products that cater to diverse lifestyles and aesthetics. The home goods industry has seen a surge in demand in recent years, with consumers seeking products that reflect their individuality and cultural heritage.

According to a 2021 report by Statista, the global home goods market is projected to reach $855 billion by 2025. Black-owned brands are poised to capture a significant share of this market by offering distinctive designs, quality craftsmanship, and products that celebrate diversity and inclusivity.

Investing in this sector not only supports the growth of Black-owned businesses but also allows investors to capitalize on the demand for unique and culturally resonant home goods.

Health & Wellness

The Health & Wellness sector is another promising area for investing in Black-owned consumer brands. As more people prioritize their physical and mental well-being, the industry has experienced substantial growth. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness market is expected to reach $6.5 trillion by 2025.

Black-owned health and wellness brands have emerged as leaders in providing products and services tailored to diverse communities. These brands focus on holistic approaches to wellness, incorporating cultural traditions, natural ingredients, and inclusive marketing strategies.

Investing in this sector allows investors to support initiatives that address health disparities, promote self-care, and tap into a rapidly expanding market.

Apparel & Accessories

The Apparel & Accessories industry offers a wealth of investment opportunities within the realm of Black-owned consumer brands. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the global fashion industry was valued at $2.5 trillion in 2021 and is projected to reach $3.3 trillion by 2030.

Black-owned fashion and accessory brands are gaining momentum, capturing the attention of consumers who seek unique and culturally relevant designs. These brands showcase the rich heritage and creativity of Black communities, blending traditional aesthetics with modern trends.

By investing in this sector, investors can contribute to the growth of Black-owned fashion businesses and tap into the rising demand for diverse and inclusive fashion.

Personal Care & Cosmetics

Investing in Black-owned personal care and cosmetics brands presents an opportunity to capitalize on the increasing demand for inclusive and culturally relevant beauty products. The global cosmetics market is projected to reach $648 billion by 2027, according to a report by Grand View Research.

Black-owned beauty brands have been at the forefront of pushing for greater diversity and representation within the beauty industry. These brands offer a wide range of products that cater to diverse skin tones, hair textures, and beauty needs. By investing in Black-owned personal care and cosmetics brands, investors can support the development of inclusive beauty products while tapping into a rapidly growing market.

Recent statistics indicate that Black consumers spend a significant amount on personal care and beauty products. According to Nielsen, Black consumers in the United States spend nine times more on ethnic beauty and grooming products than any other demographic.

This highlights the immense potential for investors to tap into this market by supporting and investing in Black-owned brands that not only cater to Black consumers but also attract a diverse range of customers.

by Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

SHOPPE BLACK & SHARK TANK Partner to Discover Black Entrepreneurial Gems

In an extraordinary collaboration that celebrates the convergence of entrepreneurial spirit and television entertainment, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Shark Tank and Values Partnerships to identify exceptional founders for the upcoming season of this groundbreaking show. 

Our goal is to discover and amplify the voices of entrepreneurs who embody the spirit of creativity, determination, and business acumen. We aim to create a powerful pipeline for entrepreneurs who may not have had the same level of exposure or opportunities to reach the broader market.

Fun fact: The first business to pitch and strike a deal on Shark Tank was Black-owned.

This collaboration acknowledges the incredible legacy of Black entrepreneurs and seeks to bridge the gap by identifying outstanding founders from various backgrounds.

So, how does it work? To curate the upcoming season of Shark Tank, we will leverage the marketing expertise and extensive network of SHOPPE BLACK, including the involvement of our investment arm, SBLK Ventures.

By tapping into our strong connections within the Black business community, we will identify promising entrepreneurs who exhibit exceptional potential and closely align with Shark Tank’s casting criteria.

We invite all exceptional founders to seize this incredible opportunity and apply for an opportunity to be cast on Season 15 of Shark Tank.

Complete this form for your chance to pitch at SHOPPE BLACK Pitch Night on June 8th @ 7PM ET

4 mins read

The Importance of Angel Investors in Bridging the Funding Gap for Black Founders

The startup ecosystem can often be a challenging space for Black founders to navigate. Overall, Black entrepreneurs typically receive less than 2% of all VC dollars each year while companies led by Black women receive less than 1%, according to data from Crunchbase. This is a stark contrast to the fact that Black Americans make up nearly 13% of the U.S. population.

One of the reasons for this disparity is the lack of access to funding. Angel investors can be an important alternative source of capital for Black founders, helping to level the playing field and create more opportunities for success.

Access to Capital

One of the main reasons that angel investors are important for Black founders is that they provide access to capital that may not be available through traditional funding channels. Banks and other financial institutions are often hesitant to lend money to startup founders, especially those who are just starting out.

This is particularly true for Black founders who may not have the same networks or connections as their white counterparts. Angel investors, on the other hand, are often more willing to take a chance on a new business idea and are willing to provide the funding needed to get the business off the ground.


In addition to providing access to funding, angel investors can also offer valuable expertise and mentorship. Many angel investors are experienced entrepreneurs themselves, with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that come with starting a new business.

They can provide guidance on everything from business strategy to fundraising to marketing and sales. For Black founders who may not have access to the same networks and resources as their white counterparts, this mentorship can be incredibly valuable.

Overcoming bias

Another benefit of working with angel investors is that they can help Black founders overcome some of the biases and barriers that exist within the traditional funding ecosystem. Unfortunately, many investors have unconscious biases that can affect their investment decisions.

This can make it difficult for Black founders to secure funding, even if they have a great business idea. Angel investors, on the other hand, may be more open-minded and willing to invest in a diverse range of founders and ideas. This can help Black founders overcome some of the systemic barriers that exist within the startup ecosystem.

Building networks

Finally, working with angel investors can help Black founders build important connections and networks within the startup ecosystem. Many angel investors are well-connected within the industry and can introduce founders to other investors, mentors, and potential customers.

This can be especially valuable for Black founders who may not have access to the same networks and resources as their white counterparts. By building these connections, Black founders can increase their chances of success and create more opportunities for themselves and their businesses.

Overall, angel investors can be an important alternative source of capital for Black founders. By providing access to funding, expertise, mentorship, and networks, they can help level the playing field and create more opportunities for success.

As more Black founders enter the startup ecosystem, it’s important that they have access to the resources they need to thrive. Angel investors can play a key role in making this happen.

Interested in investing in Black founders? If so, please complete this brief form.

15 mins read

Colorwave: Driving Diversity and Equity in the Startup Ecosystem

Colorwave is a program designed to increase access to opportunities and support for underrepresented leaders in the tech industry.

In this interview, John Roussel, the Executive Director at Colorwave, shares how the organization is working to build a more equitable and inclusive innovation economy.


What inspired the creation of Colorwave?

Colorwave was born to address the lack of opportunity available to professionals of color within America’s booming venture-backed startup ecosystem.  

While the global start-up economy is worth more than $3.8 trillion (Startup Genome) and has been an engine for societal change and wealth generation for many, communities of color, notably Black and Latinx, have been broadly excluded and underrepresented in this space. In 2020 alone, 14 companies generated nearly $450b via IPO. However, Black, Latinx, and Native Americans were not in leadership of most of the companies. In addition, those most likely to experience the substantial economic upside of a tech company are often the earliest employees – this lack of representation exacerbates wealth inequality within this sector.  

Black and Latinx workers comprise 31% of the US workforce combined. Yet, they are just 12% of the tech workforce (Kapor Center). They are even more sorely underrepresented at the highest levels of tech, comprising roughly 7% of all tech leadership roles (Kapor Center) and less than 5% of startup executive roles (MaC Ventures/Kauffman). Early start-up employee pools often rely on network-based hiring; however, at least 67% of white citizens have white-only networks (PRRI). This lack of diversity often creates less inclusive work environments, as illustrated by many of the large tech companies’ annual diversity reports. The lack of opportunity for communities of color in the workplace has contributed to various societal and business issues.

John Roussel, Executive Director at Colorwave

Beyond these sobering facts of underrepresentation in the innovation economy, Colorwave’s origin story shares a connection to my own personal and professional experience. While growing up in California during the era of multiple tech booms in the late 90s (AOL, Netscape, eBay, Amazon) and early 2000s (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Skype, Youtube), a few things were clear. First, there was little understanding of these nascent technologies within my networks and community as a Black man and almost no pathway to finding a job at these companies at the earliest stages.

Despite being a student in the Bay Area at one of the top places to find talent, UC Berkeley, these companies and industries might as well have been on another planet in terms of our two worlds being connected. The net effect of this as a mid-career professional is that many of my peers went into ‘stable’ jobs in government, legal, nonprofit, healthcare, etc., mainly due to network, knowledge, and access gaps. While others went on to make large or mini-fortunes by working in venture-backed tech, my friends and I remained locked out of this sector’s career and economic upside.

Armed with this proximate understanding of the problem, we officially launched our first program, the Colorwave Fellowship, in January 2021 with 22 fellows. This program was designed to do the following: 

  • Help working professionals from traditionally marginalized communities better understand the venture-backed startup ecosystem
  • Learn about what it’s like to work in a venture-backed startup
  • Support the job search and preparation for open roles across the ecosystem
  • Connect them to growing companies through our venture and startup partnerships

Please describe your model

Colorwave takes a two-pronged approach to make the VC-backed startup sector more equitable and inclusive.

  1. On the talent side, we recruit high-potential, early-to-mid-career professionals of color as Colorwave fellows. Candidates participate in a free, virtual, eight-week educational and networking program that helps them understand and navigate the venture-backed startup industry more effectively. At the end of the eight weeks, we facilitate connections and placement in roles with our partner companies and the startup sector more broadly. Upon completion and placement, we continue to engage program alums with career pathways, industry networking, and entrepreneurship advisory support.
  2. On the industry side, we partner with venture capital funds, their portfolio companies, and other venture-backed startups to unlock access to opportunities for our fellowship participants and support companies in building more inclusive pipelines and organizational culture practices.  

Ultimately, Colorwave is building a virtuous network of investors, startups, and diverse talent committed to making the innovation economy more equitable and inclusive of all communities. 

In just two years, nearly 300 fellows across 60 cities have completed our program. More than 100 and counting have transitioned into new roles across the innovation economy, with most seeing an average $52K increase in their total compensation. We are building a movement to inject more leaders of color into the startup ecosystem. We are encouraged by the progress we have seen thus far and hope to continue growing our movement and impact.   

How do you select partners? Which have you identified as doing impactful work in this space?

We take a targeted approach to our fund and company partners. We prioritize partners committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion and are aligned with our organizational mission to increase access to opportunities for underrepresented leaders. 

A few of our fund partners have made impactful efforts to advance inclusion within the ecosystem. One is Concrete Rose Capital which has not only built inclusion into its investment approach but has also committed to giving 50% of its fund carry to non-profit organizations helping to close opportunity gaps for communities of color.

In addition, at the fund level, Concrete Rose supports its portfolio companies in designing inclusive cultures from Day 1, helps connect those companies to diverse talent as they scale, and connects companies to their well-respected network of operators and LPs. Seven of our alumni have worked within their company portfolio network. We believe they’re building a model that demonstrates outsized returns and transformational social good are not mutually exclusive and can co-exist in investing.   

Another fund partner we work closely with who is doing transformative work to build more inclusivity in the space is Insight Partners. In 2020, the fund announced a bold commitment to support diversity, equity, and inclusion within the fund’s broad sphere of influence. We have worked closely with their Talent Center of Excellence to support connecting candidates to roles across their expansive portfolio of companies. In addition to supporting their portfolio companies in tracking and benchmarking key diversity metrics, we were excited that their pledge removed minimum commitment requirements for Insight’s future funds to enable HBCU Endowments to invest and that they recently were an LP in Monique Woodard’s of Cake Ventures most recent fund announced in January 2022.

A more recent partner, Andreessen Horowitz’s Cultural Leadership Fund, is also doing impactful work to attract Black LPs into their funds and building out a network of cultural icons, talent, and community organizations to broaden access to the tech ecosystem. These particular funds’ management fees and carry generated are donated to nonprofit organizations showing their commitment to doing well and doing good.     

A few other funds and portfolios that have caught our eye include Base10 Ventures, with their Advancement Initiative aimed at leveling the playing field for HBCU endowments and their students. Additionally, Kapor Capital has focused on investing in new companies that close gaps of access for all and often integrate efforts with the SMASH program and Kapor Center into their company support. Lastly, Slauson & Co., via its investment thesis and Friends & Family program, has prioritized broadening access for traditionally overlooked communities.    

All of these efforts are helping to advance inclusivity in the ecosystem. Meaningful change will occur when embedding more inclusive practices into investing criteria, company building, and organizational culture development becomes the norm across the sector.  

 How do you identify ideal candidates for your program?

Our programming prioritizes early-to-mid career, underrepresented professionals with transferable skills to a startup environment. 

The majority of our fellowship participants have come from referrals. Our program has a 100% recommendation rate. We accept candidates twice per year, usually during the Spring and Fall. Applicants undergo a two-part screening process: an initial application review and a virtual interview with our Interview committee, including staff and alumni.

The typical candidate has roughly six years of work experience, proven functional experience, and a desire to transition to a venture-backed startup. Participants come from various industries, including consulting, banking/finance, big tech, higher education, nonprofits, and government. Roughly 75% have non-technical backgrounds such as finance, HR, operations, and strategy. Another 25% are technical, which includes engineers, product managers, data scientists, and designers.    

We encourage candidates to check our website and Linkedin pages for application alerts and other opportunities to join our talent community.     

Can you share any success stories or notable achievements that your organization has had in placing Black talent in these types of roles?

To date, our fellowship program has supported roughly 300 fellows across 60 different cities and six countries. Approximately 110 and counting have transitioned into roles across the venture-backed startup ecosystem. Once placed, our most recent survey in 2021 found that fellows experienced a $52k increase in their total compensation when transitioning. 

There are many success stories from our first couple of years, but the stories below demonstrate different ways people find successful outcomes. 

  • Colorwave Industry Network – Through our relationship with a fund partner, Insight Partners, one of our alumni connected to a growing clinic trials SaaS company. He took a role under the CFO, seeing both a jump in his salary and earning equity ownership in the company, which is an essential aspect of our curriculum and model. More on this here
  • Colorwave’s Peer Network – Four of our alumni could transition to a late-stage, e-commerce company by connecting with a previous alumni who connected them to roles across the company. Three of those who transitioned came from higher education and nonprofit roles, which significantly improved their salary and provided them with company stock options. More on this here
  • Colorwave’s Curriculum and Resources – A recent alumni leveraged the curriculum to narrow down roles at several startups. Using our resources and tools, she landed a job with a growth-stage healthcare startup helping to scale their model. She now has a meaningful role at one of her top-choice companies. 

What future do you envision for Colorwave?

We envision a future where many of our alumni are in prominent positions across the startup world as executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. We see our alumni as leaders who will help transform the future of tech and societal change by holding seats at companies and within industries that are shaping society. In their personal family legacies, they will represent generational change by accessing more opportunities and income to help close the wealth gap and improve their local communities.  

In this particular segment of our economy, we want to play a supportive role in getting companies to think about and embed inclusive practices in their earliest stages. We’ll know our efforts at Colorwave and so many others within this space are impactful when we no longer need to ‘make the case’ for diversity; instead, it is a modus operandi for a successful high-growth business.

by Tony O. Lawson

Interested in investing in Black founders? If so, please complete this brief form.

2 mins read

5 Ways To Evaluate a Startup Investment Opportunity

Conducting due diligence on a startup investment opportunity is a crucial step in the angel investing process.

By following these steps, you can make a more informed decision on whether to invest in a startup and minimize your risk as an investor.

Step 1: Research the Industry and Market

Analyzing the market and industry in which a startup operates is the first step in evaluating an investment opportunity.  This entails understanding the market’s size and potential for expansion as well as the major players and current trends in the sector. It’s critical to identify any obstacles or difficulties that the startup may encounter in the future.

Step 2: Assess the Business Model

After you’ve thoroughly researched the industry and market, the next is to assess the startup’s business model. Understanding the startup’s revenue streams, target customer base, and unique value proposition are all part of this. It is essential to determine whether the startup’s business model is long-term sustainable and scalable.

Step 3: Analyze the Financials

The next step is to review the startup’s financial statements, which include the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. This will give you an idea of the revenue, expenses, and profitability of the startup. It is critical to determine whether the startup has a positive cash flow and a viable path to profitability.

Step 4: Evaluate the Team

Another important aspect to consider is the startup’s team. This includes assessing the experience, skills, and track record of the management team, as well as the overall culture and dynamics within the company. It’s important to evaluate whether the team has the ability and drive to execute on their business plan and achieve their goals.

Step 5: Assess the Valuation

Finally, it’s important to assess the startup’s valuation. This includes evaluating the startup’s current funding round and the terms of the investment, as well as the startup’s valuation in comparison to other similar companies in the industry. It’s important to ensure that the valuation is reasonable and in line with industry standards.

by Tony O. Lawson

Interested in investing in Black founders? If so, please complete this brief form.

5 mins read

Angel Investing 101: A Guide to Startup Investing

In this article, we will be exploring the world of angel investing, a type of financing where individuals invest their own money into early-stage companies.

If you are new to the concept of angel investing, or if you are simply looking to learn more about this exciting and potentially lucrative area of the financial market, then this article is for you.

Angel Investing 101

Angel investing entails investing your own funds in a startup in exchange for equity in the business. Angel investors come from a variety of backgrounds and often invest during the early stages of a company’s development.

Often, these businesses have no customers or revenue. They may only have a good business plan, have finished a beta test, or have built a “minimum viable product.” An angel investor’s money is often used for research and development, to help the company figure out what products and services to offer, to come up with a business plan, or to figure out who their target market is.

Angel investors can work independently, as a team in an angel network, or through intermediaries like equity crowdfunding platforms and syndicates.

Historically, angel investors have been wealthy individuals who contributed funds directly from their own wealth, as opposed to a venture fund or institution. Angel investing was primarily conducted through direct relationships between private investors and startups for the majority of its existence. Non-accredited investors were excluded from these opportunities.

However, angel investing has evolved over time to include third parties such as equity crowdfunding platforms. This is an exciting development for both founders and potential investors, as it expands the pool of potential investors who have the capital to deploy but are not accredited.

It’s a win-win situation, as startups now have access to a larger pool of investors, and everyday investors now have access to potentially lucrative startup investment opportunities that were previously reserved only for the wealthy.

How to Become an Angel Investor

Usually, meeting the standards of being an accredited investor is a prerequisite for becoming an angel investor.

Accredited investors must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Individual income exceeding $200k for each of the past two years with a reasonable expectation that the $200k threshold will be reached in the current year
  • Joint income with a spouse exceeding $300k for each of the past two years with a reasonable expectation that the $300k threshold will be reached in the current year
  • Personal net worth (excluding the value of a primary residence) exceeding $1M
  • Hold in good standing a Series 7, 65 or 82 license

Due to changes in securities law, however, non-accredited investors (the vast majority of Americans) are now allowed to legally invest alongside accredited investors under certain guidelines.

For example, both accredited and non-accredited investors can invest in private businesses through equity crowdfunding platforms.

Know how to find deals

Many angel investors already have a network of startup founders and entrepreneurs.  Since they communicate with these individuals often, they sometimes hear about startups and can find deals to consider.

If you don’t have access to this kind of network, you can contact a startup founder directly if you find a company with an interesting new business idea that you’d like to learn more about and possibly invest in.

You can also find deals by joining an angel group. This gives you access to a group of angel investors who assess and invest in startups together.

Choosing which startups to invest in

Before investing your hard-earned money, you must do your homework or “due diligence”. This is the process of conducting research on an investment opportunity to determine its potential. Due diligence enables investors to make more informed investment decisions, mitigate risk, and uncover additional valuable information about a company’s chances of success.

Since most startups fail, investors must do thorough and objective research on any startup they might want to invest in to make sure they fully understand the risks and benefits and weigh them against each other.

Angel investing is risky, but potential high returns and satisfaction from nurturing a startup can make it worthwhile.


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12 mins read

The State of the Caribbean Tech Ecosystem

The Caribbean is breaking away from its dependency on tourism and focusing more on building its tech economy.

TechBeach Retreat is a tech platform built to connect Caribbean startups with leading global technology companies. They also provide founders with access to the resources needed to solve problems and accelerate their growth.

We caught up with Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, Co-Founder of TechBeach Retreat. to find out more about the platform.

Kirk-Anthony Hamilton, Co-Founder of TechBeach Retreat

What inspired you to start TechBeach?

I have started numerous platforms focused on various industries to help drive investment, innovation and transformation in the Caribbean region. Being from Jamaica, I came to a stage where I realized that if I wanted to pursue an innovative idea in the tech space, I didn’t have the immediate ecosystem and resources surrounding me to make this happen.

My Co-Founder, Kyle Maloney had the same thoughts and experience and so we decided to build the ecosystem to allow those who aspire to be successful in tech to access the minds, capital, partnerships and other resources they need to grow a strong business.

So in 2016, we got started by inviting the existing tech ecosystem of the region and anyone from anywhere elsewhere in the world to the idyllic backdrop of the beach in Montego Bay to discuss building and growing tech businesses. That has led us to where we are today.

Kyle Maloney, Co-Founder of TechBeach Retreat

How would you describe the current technology industry in the Caribbean?

The Caribbean tech landscape is still at a nascent stage but our current momentum is promising. We are seeing more of our legacy companies and governments embrace digital transformation and more startups being formed and accessing capital and resources.

What we need is for these groups to collide more intentionally and to build a strong coalition of angel investors who understand how tech businesses grow and how to leverage their influence to support this path.

What’s exciting is that Africa and Latin America are seeing billions in investment. As these ecosystems grow their talent becomes more expensive and we believe the Caribbean can be the next great market for talent, which we hope will result in new enterprises and more global investor interest.

Imagine, studies by the World Economic Forum and the Africa Report show that in 2013, venture capital funding in Africa was at merely $13 million, but by 2021 that number had grown to $4.65 billion. We are hoping the diaspora in the Caribbean can experience the same meteoric shift.

The high level team from Google comprising (L-R), Suezette Yasmin Robotham, Diversity, Equity, Annie-Jean Baptiste, Global Head of Product Inclusion;  and Inclusion Manager and Alan Tetley, Director of Engineering

How is your company supporting the growth of the tech ecosystem in the Caribbean?

We work to fill any unfilled gaps in the market. Tech Beach offers a series of summits throughout the region that take a multi-stakeholder approach to ecosystem building in a region that has traditionally operated in silos.

We are known for our success in partnering with and ability to attract decision makers from numerous areas of the ecosystem, whether it be the private sector, including established businesses and SMEs, to our Governments and perhaps most noteworthy, global tech companies such as Google and Amazon who are otherwise not represented in our market. Based on our relationships and reach, we offer Governments and Corporates market insights and support with digital transformation efforts.

In 2021 we launched our accelerator program with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank. We have partnered with the DMZ, a very successful decade-old incubator and accelerator program. DMZ was spun out of Ryerson University and has a portfolio of companies that have raised in excess of US$1 billion.

We have an incredible team led by Eric Sonnier, better known in the US than in the Caribbean. He’s a Harvard Business School and Y Combinator Alum, and a two time founder with experience raising capital and scaling businesses. We offer our companies access to up to US$600,000 in perks from entities like Microsoft, Shopify, AWS and Stripe alongside expert led workshops, access to mentorship and networking opportunities.

In this short space of time the companies in our program have raised in excess of US$50 million. All credit is due to the hard working founders, but we believe this represents a paradigm shift for the Caribbean and we are ready for the next chapter.

To take our vision a step further, we are keen on launching the region’s first tech focused venture capital fund to write first checks to Caribbean entities. Currently, the market is underserved and capital is raised sporadically, often from unlikely sources that don’t necessarily have a strategy around tech investment, so these serve as one off investments. Our fund will back the best in and from the Caribbean.

Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and CEO, Twitter and Square on stage at Tech Beach Retreat with Co-Founders Kirk-Anthony Hamilton and Kyle Maloney

Do you feel that the Caribbean is often overlooked as a location for investment and business opportunities?

This is my life’s work. Our region is definitely overlooked and we fall out of the sphere in conversations of global consequence. My mission is to better profile success stories in the region and leverage global influence to highlight that our market is abound with opportunities. The truth is we often overlook ourselves as well, so my hope is to champion the region as a place to invest, for ourselves, and the rest of the world.

Do you feel that more attention is being paid to high-growth industries outside of tourism?

The pandemic definitely woke up a lot of people in our market to the realization that tourism cannot be our sole focus, but I don’t think we should lose sight of the value the industry creates nor its untapped potential. I believe people are now looking beyond tourism, with the challenge being that new industries take time to blossom and often require wholly new skillsets, so our people have to adjust and adapt.

It’s hard to navigate from a model that has proven itself for well over half a century, but many of us have always known that the model was broken. I’d love to see us develop a more integrated tourism industry that can support other high growth industries and leverage our tourism infrastructure and image to attract new investment and opportunities in other areas.

A promising start brought on by the pandemic is the remote work movement which flooded the region, I think Mia Mottley definitely led this race with the Welcome Stamp in Barbados and while there may still be much to be desired, you can definitely see the economic impact this move had on the island and more importantly the untapped potential. It’s maybe hard to appreciate, but something as simple as the long stay visitor may be the greatest tourism innovation in our market’s history since the dawn of the all-inclusive resort.

Premier of Bermuda, Hon. E. David Burt (middle) with Tech Beach Co-Founders Kirk-Anthony Hamilton (left) and Kyle Maloney (right) at TechBeach Retreat, Bermuda

What are some of the unique advantages that the Caribbean has compared to US or European markets? What are some challenges?

The Caribbean is a nearshore English speaking territory with a much more affordable workforce than you can find in the US and Europe. Our people are well educated through our traditional education system and simply access to environments that allow them.

Most islands offer a lower cost of living despite our heavy reliance on imports for energy and consumer goods. Our friendliness is a commodity that can be leveraged to service the globe, and contrary to common knowledge, we have some of the best and most reliable telecommunications infrastructure in the world, notwithstanding the need for improvements.

We have challenges faced by all emerging markets trying to innovate within our new world order. We don’t have historical benchmarks to reference to support the growth of new industries and we don’t have enough people with experience in these spaces to prop up these new ventures.

Most importantly we don’t have enough risk takers across the necessary stakeholder groups including Government to pursue the unknown. A structured call on the diaspora to incentivize the return of our best placed people could be helpful, note that one in every two foreign born Black people in America is of Caribbean heritage. We think this is huge and we see it when we talk to many of the most successful Black Americans in tech, who often trace their lineage to the Caribbean.

-Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Different Ways to Invest in Black Owned Businesses

When it comes to supporting Black-owned businesses, some research is needed to discover which businesses are actually Black-owned.

Luckily, most public companies do not hide who is on their executive board, making the process easy with a little research. Once you have done some research on the businesses you wish to support, there are ways you can go about investing in them.

If you have the desire to invest in Black-owned businesses, read on for a few ways to do so:

Take to the Stock Exchange

One of the easiest ways to support any publicly-owned business is to invest in the company on the stock exchange. Here are a few companies that have either a Black president or CEO, or have majority Black ownership that you can invest in:

  • Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc.
  • RLJ Lodging Trust
  • Urban One, Inc.

Invest in Companies That Financially Support Racial Justice

Supporting companies that have donated money to support racial justice can also be an option in the stock market. Several large companies have done so over the past few years, and supporting them can help them continue to do so. Choosing businesses such as these to get behind can help also grow your own money while showing your support for said business.

The Non-Stock Ways to Support Racial Justice

While taking to the stock exchange can be a great way to support Black-owned businesses and businesses that support racial justice, there are other methods available to investors as well, such as investing in startups or real estate crowdfunding.

You can join platforms such as The 10K Project, a community of everyday investors who actively fund Black-owned businesses.

You can invest in Buy the Block, another crowdfunding platform, for a minimum of $100. Many of the projects listed on Buy the Block are in historic Black neighborhoods or benefit a local community.

No matter what way you decide to invest, make certain you do your research. With investing in startups and real estate crowdfunding there is the risk of losing your entire investment, so it’s best to be careful.

Rethink Your Bank

Why not consider a Black-owned bank, especially if your current bank doesn’t meet all of your banking needs? Not only are you supporting a Black-owned company by using such a bank, but you can also ask them about any initiatives they have for the African American community to further your support.

Larger banks that are not Black-owned might also have community-focused initiatives as well, and it never hurts to ask, especially if you want to support such initiatives.

There are so many ways that you can support Black-owned businesses. Research the business you want to support, and think about how best you can support them, be it through purchasing stocks in the company or taking part in the company’s initiatives.

-Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

Meet Sangu Delle, one of Africa’s Most Successful Investors

Sangu Delle is a Ghanaian investor, entrepreneur, activist, and author. He has received several international accolades including being named Africa’s “Young Person of the Year”, a TEDGlobal Fellow, one of Forbes’ top 30 most promising entrepreneurs in Africa.

Sangu serves as CEO of Africa Health Holdings, an innovative company focused on building Africa’s healthcare future.

In November, African Health Holdings raised $18 million to expand its telemedicine service beyond Ghana to Nigeria and Kenya, and scale its network of health facilities.

He is also the Chairman of Golden Palm Investments (“GPI”); an investment holding and advisory company focused on building world class technology companies in Africa.

Via GPI, Sangu has been an early investor in several African tech startups including Andela and Flutterwave, two of only three West African companies valued at one billion U.S. dollars.

In this interview, Sangu and I discuss:

  • His journey from Ghana to the U.S. and back to Ghana.
  • Why he pivoted from investing in agriculture to focus exclusively on technology
  • What inspired his passion for building Africa’s healthcare future.
  • The importance of Africans and the Black diaspora collaborating on economic and social issues.
  • Advice for those interested in investing in startups based on the continent.

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Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

From Homeless Refugee To Creating a $100 Million Investment Fund

Kanyi Maqubela is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist based in New York. He was born in Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, during apartheid. To escape this life-threatening environment, his family moved to the United States as refugees in 1986.

 Kanyi Maqubela
Kanyi Maqubela, cofounder of Kindred Ventures | Credit: Techies

After arriving in the U.S., he and his parents lived in a homeless shelter and were on food stamps until his mother got a job as an ESL teacher at Fashion Institute of Technology, and his father got a job as a cashier and coat checker at the Museum of Natural History. (His parents are now accomplished educators.)

Temba Maqubela
Kanyi’s parents, Vuyelwa and Temba Maqubela

In 2014, Kanyi and co-founder Steve Jang, raised $56 million to create Kindred Ventures. The fund has invested in over 40 companies located in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa. Previous Kindred Ventures investments count companies like Uber, Coinbase, and Virgin Hyperloop One.

Kindred Ventures recently closed its second fund with $100 million in capital commitments from a mix of major university endowments, foundations, fund-of-funds, and strategic investors.

Kanyi is also the co-founder of Heartbeat Health — a platform that invites patients who are at risk of heart disease and other chronic ailments to talk remotely with experts for care management.


Tony O. Lawson

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