Latest Articles

Fearless Fund Barred From Providing Grant Funding To Black Women Entrepreneurs

Fearless Fund has been barred temporarily from providing funding to Black entrepreneurs. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the venture capital fund had been sued by Edward Blum and his American Alliance for Equal Rights group in August 2023 for “explicit racial exclusion” by creating a grant program dedicated solely to Black women, The Washington Post shares. Initially, U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash had ruled in favor of Fearless Fund, but the verdict was blocked by a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Sept. 30, 2023. Fearless Fund, looking to retract the verdict, filed to appeal the September ruling. In the most recent update, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has temporarily blocked Fearless Fund from continuing its efforts to support Black women entrepreneurs with funding, CNN reports . The panel judges ruled the Fearless Fund’s Fearless Strivers Grant Contest is “substantially likely to violate” Title 42 of the US Code’s provisions,...

Jun 4, 2024

Are Meme Stocks Too Volatile To Invest In?

Meme stocks are stocks influenced by viral social media trends and online forums rather than traditional stock market forces, though their prices often experience surges and dips. Meme stock became a phenomenon in 2020, when retail traders on Reddit’s WallStreetBets (WSB) forum mass purchased shares of GameStop (GME) in bulk, in a bid to save the video game retailer. This strategy led to a spike in GameStop’s stock price, attracting media interest and a new way to invest. Other known stocks have followed the GameStop stock trend and have become known as meme stocks, due to their popularity being driven by memes and trends. Here’s everything you need to know about meme stocks before you decide to invest in them. Meme Stock’s Volatility They are characterized by high volatility. Their wild price swings, often rise or fall by large percentages in a single trading day. The price movements of meme stocks are primarily driven by retail investors rather than institutional investors. Online...

May 23, 2024

Angel Reese Fulfills Her Dream Of Owning A Professional Sports Team — 'I’ve Always Had [A] Desire To Invest In A Local Team As A Maryland Native'

This is Angel Reese’s year, and we’re just living in it! According to The Athletic, Reese is officially a “professional sports owner” as she has joined the ownership group of DC Power Football Club, Washington, DC’s new professional women’s soccer team — which will begin competing in the USL Super League in summer 2024. “I want to help grow women’s sports and elevate female athletes across the board,” Reese said in a statement. “We’re taking over, and I’m honored to be able to support Power FC and invest in women’s soccer in the DMV community.” “Angel’s decision to be a founding investor alongside us in Power FC is groundbreaking,” D.C. United CEO and Co-Chairman Jason Levien added. “As a Maryland native, Angel is so passionate about being a catalyst for positive change in women’s sports in the DMV as well as globally, while inspiring the next generation of female athletes. We’re looking forward to her partnership in the boardroom as an equity partner.” As a native of Randallstown,...

May 22, 2024

OpenseedVC Raises $10M To Support Operators Launching Technology Companies In Africa And Europe

OpenseedVC, run by Europe’s first Black solo general partner, has raised $10 million in its first close. Per its LinkedIn, the London, England-based firm exists to invest dollars in operators, those previously involved in daily operations of a startup, who are launching new technology companies across Africa and Europe. “We exist to back the most talented and experienced operators from day zero,” OpenseedVC Founder Maria Rotilu wrote on LinkedIn. “ As an angel-style fund, we are designed for one founder profile. Operators just as they take the leap to start their tech companies. We are driven by *pure merit* (hence the name OpenseedVC), and our goal is to back the most experienced operators and builders as first investors, especially at a time where the need to build truly groundbreaking and impactful solutions is critical.” She continued, “It is a tough fundraising climate, for funds and startups alike. However, we believe this is the best time to invest in the most visionary and...

May 22, 2024

Uncle Nearest Whiskey Purchases Vodka Brand Square One Organic Spirits

Uncle Nearest’s presence in the spirits sector continues to rise. The whiskey company, established in 2016 by Fawn Weaver to honor Nathan “Nearest” Green, a formerly enslaved man who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey, has scaled into 30,000 stores, bars, hotels, and restaurant s in 12 countries, as AFROTECH™ previously reported. In its latest report, Bloomberg notes Weaver aspires to own a larger share of the spirits market. This stance has motivated the company to purchase vodka maker Square One Organic Spirits. Additionally, she mentions a settled legal dispute between Diageo Plc and Sean “Diddy” Combs concerning his vodka brand as a contributing factor for her latest acquisition, noting a void in the market and the importance of having a Black-owned vodka occupy space. The market is heavily dominated by major players such as  Diageo PLC and LVMH, with valuations totaling nearly $79 billion and $423 billion, respectively, the outlet mentions. Uncle Nearest continues to gain a...

May 21, 2024

Patrick Mahomes Ventures Into The Coffee Industry As A Lead Investor In Throne Sport Coffee

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a new business venture to add to his ever-growing portfolio. According to Boardroom, the three-time Super Bowl champion is taking his love for coffee to higher heights as a lead investor for Throne Sport Coffee, a ready-to-drink coffee beverage company that was launched Thursday (May 16). Putting his money where his mouth is, not only did Mahomes attend a nice chunk of developmental and departmental meetings for the company, but he also had samples of the coffee sent to his home every two to four weeks in 2023 to ensure that he was able to help the Throne Sport family create a “tasty, healthy beverage with mass appeal to compete in a crowded market.” “There were a lot of samples sent and the season worked out well,” Mahomes said. “We won the Super Bowl, so it must have worked. We’ve come up with a great product, and I think people will really enjoy them throughout the entire day, not be jittery, and not be sluggish after the coffee...

May 16, 2024

Viola Davis, Charlamagne Tha God, And More Among Investors In A Self-Help App Catering To The Black Community

Prominent individuals in entertainment are joining forces to provide self-help resources to the Black community. This is being made possible through the inception of ALTR, described as a motivational and self-help app, per the company’s LinkedIn. The platform was co-created by David A. Wilson, founder of TheGrio, and Brandon John-Freso, who serves as the company’s chief technology officer, and is supported through a partnership with Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions. ALTR serves to provide audiobook miniseries that will tend to “the distinct life obstacles faced in the Black community,” Variety reports. These audiobooks will include topics such as: Mental well-being Feelings of isolation Financial stability Spirituality Personal relationships And more “There is a yearning for solutions and knowledge from our cultural perspectives,” Wilson told Variety. “Our authentic voices are lacking in the existing self-help, wellness and educational platforms, which is...

May 15, 2024

After Becoming The Youngest And First Black Female Partner Ever At GV, Terri Burns Is Launching Her Own VC Firm

Back in 2020, Terri Burns made history at GV (formerly Google Ventures) as not only its first Black female partner but also its youngest-ever partner at age 26, as previously shared by AFROTECH™. The promotion came after she joined the investment arm of Alphabet in 2017. Now, the history-maker is spreading her wings to take on building out her own venture. Fortune reports that Burns is launching her firm, Type Capital. “To the next generation of founders… you’re exactly our type,” Burns wrote via Instagram when announcing her new firm. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Terri Burns (@tcburning) According to Fortune, the 30-year-old was moved to start Type Capital after seeing a trend of venture capitalists investing in companies only after seeing fellow VCs show interest first, which she describes as “heat.” Burns aims to change the status quo by taking the lead and pursuing risks “driven by true innovation,” not by other investors. “They’re talking to amazing investors,...

May 13, 2024

Will.i.am Reflects On The Investments That Changed His Life — 'I Invested In Tesla In 2006 Before Elon Took Over'

While working in the music industry, many artists make the smart move and don’t limit themselves to only excelling in music. Will.i.am is among such musicians who are the definition of “multi-hyphenate.” As an entertainer, record producer, tech entrepreneur, and founder, the East Los Angeles, CA, native has built an extensive resume for himself. “Investor” is yet another title under his growing list of endeavors. In an interview with the “Drink Champs” podcast, Will.i.am recounted two specific investments he’s made thus far. When asked by host N.O.R.E. whether he’d choose Steve Jobs or Elon Musk — like in a game of “This or That” — Will.i.am was prompted to share how both CEOs have made an impact on his life. “I invested in Tesla in 2006 before Elon took over [the company] — around the same time,” Will.i.am explained on the podcast. He continued, “And then, I was a part of Beats. And then, Apple bought Beats from us. So you’re talking about two companies that changed my life. So, I...

May 6, 2024

After Missing Out On Investing In Facebook, Airbnb, And Google, Serena Williams Went On To Invest In 16 Billion-Dollar Companies

Not having a chance to invest in major players in tech ultimately catapulted Serena Williams into the investment ring. During an interview on Bloomberg’s “The Deal,” Williams recalls a time in her tennis journey when she could have faced less pressure to win on the court if she had placed dollars in companies such as Facebook, Airbnb and Google — all companies valued at more than $100 billion today. “Tennis is all sponsor based, and I would see like some of these sponsors come up, but I’m like, ‘Well I have some little cash, like how did I not invest in Facebook? How can I invest in Airbnb or how did I miss Google? Or like, you know, all these companies,'” Williams said on “The Deal.” “ And I started to ask these questions like, ‘Why am I out here breaking my neck and sweating when I could have invested in these companies and I could still be doing the same thing, but it wouldn’t have to be such dire needs, ‘I’ve gotta win this U.S. Open this year. I’ve gotta pay these bills.’ So, I...

May 3, 2024

Kubik Reportedly Becomes First Ethiopian Company To Earn A Multi-Million-Dollar Investment In Climate And Sustainability Solutions

Ethiopian sustainable tech startup Kubik has scored a first for the country. According to a press release sent to AFROTECH™, it has raised $5.2 million in a seed round. Investors include East African venture capital firm African Renaissance Partners, Endgame Capital, and King Philanthropies. It will now further its work in using plastic waste to make affordable buildings and removing waste from the environment. “Kubik’s vision to build safe and affordable living for all speaks directly to King Philanthropies’ mission to catalyze solutions at the intersection of climate and livelihoods,” Kartick Kumar, managing director at King Philanthropies, said in a press release. “Kubik is at the forefront of innovation in Ethiopia and across the African market, and we’re proud to support the tremendous impact they’re making combatting plastic waste and providing safe, durable, and affordable housing.” The funding round makes Kubik the first Ethiopian country to earn a multi-million-dollar...

May 2, 2024

Michael Jordan Adds Serena Williams And Michael Strahan To The Cincoro Tequila Ownership Team

NBA legend Michael Jordan is enlisting a team of athletic superstars as co-owners of his award-winning tequila company. In a press release shared with AFROTECH™, the NBA Hall of Famer has tapped Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, and a host of other athletes and sports enthusiasts as investors in his award-winning portfolio of luxury tequilas, Cincoro Tequila. “Cincoro has always been special to me because of the authentic friendships we’ve established around enjoying Cincoro and spending time together, designing it, experiencing it, and tasting it. We are constantly striving for greatness,” Jordan, co-founder of Cincoro Tequila, said. “And now that we’re welcoming in some of my closest friends to the business, I’m looking forward to this next era of Cincoro alongside this all-star team.” The company’s new ownership group, Team Cincoro, also includes RedBird Capital Partners Founder and Managing Partner Gerry Cardinale; The Lerner Family, owners of the Washington Nationals; former NFL...

May 2, 2024

After Landing Her Dream Job On Wall Street After College, Ashley M. Fox Built Empify Out Of A Desire to Become The Client And Help Others Do The Same

Ashley M. Fox has had dreams of working on Wall Street since she first decided to attend Howard University. Little did she know that this vision would soon propel her into entrepreneurship. After conquering what some would deem the inevitable, Fox not only became the first person in her family to attend and graduate college, but she also landed her dream career of working with one of the largest banks in the world. Still, there was a desire for more. “After about eight months at my job, I felt like I didn’t have the desire to be the best person on Wall Street, I wanted to be like the client,” Fox told A FROTECH™. “I realized that no matter how long I stayed in my Wall Street job, yes, I was making perfect money, but our clients had at least $25 million or more and I felt like I deserved to be on the other end of the table.”   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Ashley M. Fox (@_ashleymfox) Fox built that table for herself and those who look like her through Empify. “The...

May 1, 2024

Who Is Richelieu Dennis? Meet The Serial Entrepreneur Behind Shea Moisture Who Went On To Own ESSENCE, Refinery29, And More

If one were to walk down the hair care aisle of any major big box store, there is a high chance Shea Moisture would be on the shelves. With products like shampoos, conditioners, and oils, the natural hair care line has been serving Black and Brown communities for years. But did you know the brain behind the massive beauty and hairline is Liberian-born mogul Richelieu Dennis? From Humble Beginnings To A Purpose-Driven Mission Dennis attended Babson College and began selling shea butter from his dorm room. By the early 90s, he had leveraged his dorm room sales to start the Shea Moisture line, which would eventually become a part of the parent company Sundial Brands. However, Dennis’ journey was one of hard work, selling his product from a card table in Harlem. Beyond the entrepreneurial spirit, Dennis recognized his product was not just a hustle but a connection to something greater. “But for me, there was this overwhelming sense of responsibility: there were no real products or...

Apr 30, 2024

East Chop Capital Closes Second Fund Valued At $11M To Expand Minority Investors’ Access To Alternative Investments

East Chop Capital has closed its funding and will deploy capital to Black investors. According to a press release provided to AFROTECH™, the private equity firm’s founders and HBCU graduates Calvin L. Butts Jr. and Carrington Carter have closed an $11 million fund, which draws equity investments from 93 limited partnerships, including Liberty Financial Services. This brings East Chop Capital’s total raise to $15 million. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, $4 million in 2021 had been raised to support its presence in the global vacation market, which is projected to reach $132.7 billion in 2033, as reported by Future Market Insight. East Chop Capital is poised to achieve a 25% return, taking into consideration the fees or expenses involved in overseeing the fund. With additional capital at its disposal, East Chop Capital is poised to amplify its efforts in the initial round, with plans already set in motion to invest in Florida and Texas. “Fund II is about scale and pattern...

Apr 30, 2024