Venture capital firm Black Seed has closed £5.8m for its first fund to invest in “over-mentored and underfunded” Black British tech founders.
Based in Brixton, London, the investor is targeting a final close of £10m and will make early stage investments into tech startups run by Black entrepreneurs.
Karl Lokko, chairman and co-founder, Black Seed, said: “Black Seed is a venture capital firm, created to finance the pioneering Black entrepreneurs of today to build the businesses our world needs for tomorrow – if only they’re given a shot.”
M&G’s Catalyst led the investment into Black Seed’s funding round, with further capital coming from Atomico, Local Globe, Molten Ventures, WestRiver Group, Sam Branson, Lord Mervyn Davies and other angel investors.
As well as investing, Black Seed will run community events for UK Black founders and entrepreneurs. Partners include Google-owned AI company DeepMind.
“Black Seed represents an exciting new generation of fund managers working to create a fairer and more representative venture capital ecosystem,” said Jonathan Sibilia, partner, Molten Ventures.
The fund was created last year by Karl Lokko and Cyril Lutterodt. Lokko used to be a gang leader before becoming a poet and business activist. Lutterodt, a tech entrepreneur, was motivated to launch the fund after experiencing difficulties pitching for venture capital investment.
According to an Extended Ventures report, in the last decade just 0.24% of funding went to Black founders in the UK.
Cyril Lutterodt, managing director and co-founder, Black Seed said: “We know Black founders are over-mentored and underfunded.
“We know because we’ve lived it. We’re building a pipeline of black entrepreneurs, primed and ready to deal with the big challenges facing the world.”
In June, Google revealed that 26 UK startups would be receiving a $100,000 (£82,000) investment from its Black Founders Fund.
Image credit: Young Creators UK
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