Lightship Capital is a Cincinnati-based venture-capital fund managed by a team of Black entrepreneurs and investors with a mission to help underrepresented BIPOC business owners in the Midwest by creating a $50 million fund for investments.
For these investors, it was important to raise funds to help the minority and LGBTQ communities. Candice Matthews Brackeen and Brian Brackeen teamed up with other Cincinnati business leaders to help build the city as a startup ecosystem to attract new businesses.
“The idea to start a venture fund really developed during my time as an entrepreneur. The unreasonably up-hill battle for investment dollars and mentorship, for me, and all other minority founders, is what led me to this space,” Candice Matthews Brackeen said in an email interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“So I began by founding Hillman, an inclusion-focused business accelerator that mentors, educates, and invests in underrepresented founders. I saw the opportunity to expand upon this model by creating a fund which would enable us to invest even more capital into even more remarkable, minority-led companies. Enter Lightship Capital. Like Black founders, states existing outside VC meccas like the West Coast and NE are really, ‘minority regions.’ This includes many cities and towns brimming with Black talent and unrealized innovations, yet remain completely overlooked by traditional [venture capital funds].
“My focus on the Midwest, specifically, happened pretty organically. It’s where I grew up, went to school, and have started my businesses—so effectuating change here, first, was very important to me. And to be clear; while our focus is on overlooked regions, we’re inclusive of all underrepresented founders—so we invest in amazing minority-led startups no matter where they call home.”
Business owners can apply for funding through the company’s website to learn more about eligibility and requirements.