By CultureBanx Team
Base10’s $137M is the largest debut fund led by a black venture capitalist
Only 3% of venture capital investors are black
A lack of racial diversity in the overwhelmingly white venture capital industry is finally getting an injection of color and capital to the tune of $137 million. Adeyemi Ajao is the co-founder and managing director of Base10, the largest ever debut fund led by a black venture capitalist.
Why This Matters: Ajao along with his investment partner TJ Nahigian are going to back startups that disrupt long standing industries like agriculture, waste management, construction and real estate. Base10 is writing seed and Series A checks between $500,000 and $5 million, they’ve completed 10 investments so far.
Nigerian born Ajao is regarded as the first African ever to sell his startup for $100 million, which was Tuenti, an invitation only private social network site for students and young people in Spain back in 2010. Base10 doesn’t plan on having a diversity investment focus, instead they will back global companies fixing problems that affect 99% of the world.
Ajao received his MBA at Stanford, something that isn’t very unique among investors of color. Richard Kerby from Equal Ventures found only 3% of investors are black and 50% of black venture capitalist went to Harvard or Stanford, leading him to conclude that while talent is evenly distributed, unfortunately, opportunity is not.
Situational Awareness: Ajao’s fund joins a short list of black-led venture firms, including Rich Dennis’ New Voices Fund, Arlan Hamilton’s Backstage Capital, Charles Hudson’s Precursor Ventures and Lo Toney’s Plexo Capital. All of these funds are looking to change the trajectory for minority entrepreneurs.
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