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500 Startups Announces $25M Microfund to Invest in Black and Latino Founders

Monique Woodard
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June 23, 2016

500 Startups is raising a $25 million dollar microfund to make early stage investments in Black and Latino founders. This fund will invest in ~100 companies and give Black and Latino founders the access to capital, networks, and expertise that they need to grow their businesses.

The United States’ shifting demographics is a clear opportunity for investment. By 2044 people of color with be the majority in the US and Black and Latino consumers currently have a combined $2.5T in purchasing power.

The fund will be led by Monique Woodard, Venture Partner at 500 Startups and co-founder of Black Founders. Monique has access to some of the best deals in this market and her network has a massive pipeline into game-changing founders.

“This is a two-sided investing strategy,” said Woodard. “On one side, you have Black and Latino founders who are undercapitalized and there are great deals to be made. On the other side, you have a population that over-indexes in many areas of technology consumption, increased consumer purchasing power, and an increase in the US Spanish-speaking population. This is making Black and Latino consumers a market that investors should be paying attention to.”

Over the years, 500 Startups has invested in numerous startups led by Black and Latino founders, including Walker & Co., AllDay Media, and Mayvenn. The new microfund will allow 500 to be even more targeted in its investment strategy and fulfill its vision be the most active US investor in Black and Latino founders.

500 Startups has also announced its next Geeks on a Plane (#GOAP) trip which will visit the continent of Africa. This invite-only tour gives startups, investors, and executives the opportunity to learn about high-growth technology markets worldwide. Geeks on a Plane has made 17 trips to 30 countries including Asia, South America, Latin America, India, Eastern Europe, New Zealand, US, Middle East and North Africa. This will be their first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa and will include stops in Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa.

This trip will allow attendees to connect with African entrepreneurs in startup hubs across the continent. To learn more about Geeks on a Plane and apply to attend GOAP Africa, visit http://geeksonaplane.com/

About Monique Woodard

Monique is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups investing in black and Latino entrepreneurs. She is the co-founder of Black Founders — a national community of entrepreneurs whose mission is to increase the number of successful black entrepreneurs in tech. Previously, she was one of the first Innovation Fellows for the City of San Francisco and has helped cities use technology to innovate workforce and other civic services. She has more than 15 years of entrepreneur and operating experience in consumer, e-commerce, and civic tech. She likes art, fashion, and fly things. Follow her on Twitter @MoniqueWoodard

Artwork by Yiying Lu

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