Harlem Capital has been changing the face of venture capitalists and is on a mission to do the same with entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. Thanks to its latest funding round, that goal is more closely within reach.
The Black-led VC firm recently announced it raised $134 million in its latest funding round and plans to invest in 45 additional seed-stage founders that are women and people of color. “We are excited to announce the closing of our $134M Fund II. This fund brings us one step closer to our mission of funding 1,000 diverse founders, but we know the work and journey continues,” the firm tweeted on Wednesday, March 31.
Originally founded in 2015 by Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle, Harlem Capital now boasts a six-member team. In addition to Pierre-Jacques and Tingle, Harlem Capital’s managing partners now include Brandon Bryant, Gabby Kazeau, Kelly Goldstein and Nicole DeTommaso.
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Pierre-Jacques and Tingle told Forbes they initially faced an uphill battle convincing traditional investors to take a chance on their fund, but they persisted because there was such a need.
“There were no other funds that were racially focused with diverse people at the top so we felt like we had to start it ourselves,” Pierre-Jacques said.
After eventually raising a $40 million first fund, Harlem Capital invested in 23 companies. Fund II was even more successful and they plan to focus on e-commerce, enterprise software, fintech, HR tech, property tech and wellness, according to Forbes.
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“We are grateful to the LPs that believed in our vision, 42% of which individuals were women or POC. We were also supported by 14 institutions, 4 corporations and 18 GPs of other funds,” the firm continued on Twitter about its latest funding round.
While the success of Fund II is exciting, the VCs know there is still much more work to do. “We are focused on building an institution and platform to support diverse founders for many generations. Fund II is one step closer to our mission, but we know the work and journey continues. We are excited to provide more capital and resources to even more diverse founders tackling unique problems,” Pierre-Jacques said in a statement.
“We are grateful for the support from our portfolio companies, LPs, and broader network who made this fundraise possible. We have always believed that people of color and women can build incredible companies; they just need fair access to capital. It is wonderful to see increased reception to our strategy — a sign that the world is moving in the right direction,” Tingle added.