The Loews Miami Beach Hotel was flooded with investors, professionals, decision-makers, and entrepreneurs eager to find out what happens â€˜When Innovation Meets Capitalâ€™ at the 2016 Black Entrepreneurs Summit. Day 1 kicked off with a focus on capital raising, including the sessionÂ â€œThe Color of Capital â€“ Black VCs and Financiers Who Want to Invest in You.â€
Venture Capitalists Kesha Cash, founder of Impact America Fund; Founder & Managing Partner of Wolverine Angels Network, Shane Kelly; and Founder & CEO ofÂ Pipeline Angels, Natalia Oberti Noguera are all eager to close the funding gap that has traditionally kept minority startups at a competitive disadvantage. Their venture capitalists and angel investors are actively changing the face of investing and are actively seeking to help women and founders of color get the capital they need to start, grow, and scale their businesses.
If youâ€™re an entrepreneur looking to learn exactly what it takes to drive your business to the next level, or youâ€™re an investor looking for the next industry-changing startup, here is what you need to know:
- Investors fund what is familiar to them and people who look like them as well as people who they know and trust. So, donâ€™t be afraid to seek out black and women investors if those are the people who look like you. Also, seek out people who understand your market and your type of business.
- White VCs and angles talk about bootstrapping, which is go first to friends and family to raise seed funds. But there is a huge wealth gap among black and brown people of colorâ€”six cents for every $1 of wealth found in white communities. So look to crowdfunding sources such as Indiegogo.com or Kickstarter.com to raise money.
- Pitch, Pitch, and Pitch Some More. Donâ€™t overlook pitch competitions and events such asÂ angel fairs because that is where angel investors and venture capitalists like to gather. Not only will you get great feedback about your business, but an opportunity to network. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, pitch and pitch again. At the end of the day, raising capital is all about building relationships.