Will Smith & Nas Invest Millions Into Financial Literacy
By Alexandra Bacchus
Will Smith and Nas invested $22M dollars in a teenage financial literacy platform Step
Around $370M was reportedly raised by black venture capitalists in 2018
Rap icons Will Smith and Nas have poured close to $22 million into a financial literacy platform called Step, which is a no-fee banking service for teens. With what seems like more venture capital money available than ever before, there are also a lot more funds run by black investors, focusing on social enterprise investments. Around $370 million was reportedly raised (or planned) by black venture capitalists in 2018.
Why This Matters: Social ventures like this one will positively affect minority communities that experience gaps in personal finance education in their school curriculums. Specifically, Step will provide Visa-supported bank cards to give teens the freedom to learn about money management with parental safeguards in place for children under 18 years of age.
These type of enterprises have seen a collective rise in popularity among venture capital funds, and we are also seeing many high profile black investors put their money toward companies with a social good component. It’s always the hope that those funds are flowing toward black entrepreneurs seeking capital, firms such as Base 10 Partners, New Voices Fund, and Backstage Capital are funding a number of companies making waves in their industries.
Situational Awareness: If we want to see more entrepreneurs of color get funded, we need to make sure there is increased representation within the venture capital and angel investment landscape. Currently, black employees only make up about 3% of the total venture capital workforce, with hispanic or latino VCs making up 4%. Those percentages are even more bleak when broken down to positions that actually make investment decisions. To see more representation in entrepreneurs of color receiving funding, we need investors who share their perspectives and can validate their ideas with cash.
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