Arian Simone and Keshia Knight Pulliam Launched a $5 Million Dollar VC Fund for Women Of Color Owned
Through Fearless Fund, Founding Partners Arian Simone and Keshia Knight Pulliam are highlighting how diversity significantly impacts a company’s performance and potential to provide investor returns. In fact, a 2018 report released by Boston Consulting Group found that for every dollar of funding a startup in their study received, female-run startups generated an average of 78 cents in revenue while male-run startups generated 31 cents. Despite a greater potential to produce higher returns, women are historically underfunded–particularly women of color. “The Fearless fund is designed to change the narrative as it relates to funding allocated to women of color,” states Arian Simone.
In 2018, U.S. companies raised a total of $130B in VC funding. A mere 2.2% of that total went toward female-founded companies and less than 1% of total funding was allocated toward businesses founded by women of color (Fortune, 2018 & GirlBoss, 2019). This is not a “pipeline issue” or a result of a lack of VC-eligible, women of color-led companies. In fact, Fearless Fund already has five companies in its portfolio including Ellis Island Tea founded by Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur Nailah Ellis-Brown, the first African-American female to ever own a beverage production facility.
Serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, angel investor, best-selling author, and marketing expert, Arian Simone, spearheads this initiative alongside actress and entrepreneur, Keshia Knight Pulliam. Arian is the Founder and CEO of Arian Simone Enterprises and Keshia is the Founder of spice line Keshia’s Kitchen, podcast Kandidly Keshia and non-profit The Kamp Kizzy Foundation. Additionally, the fund has seen abundant support from its advisors: Opportunity Hub CEO, Rodney Sampson, and The 22 Fund Managing Partner, Tracy Gray. Early investors in the fund include actress and producer, Marsai Martin (Black-ish), Atlanta OBGYN, Dr. Jacqueline Waters (Married to Medicine), Chattanooga VC fund, The JumpFund, and other notable individual and institutional investors.
With a proven track record of molding successful startups and building an expansive network of top entertainers and business leaders, the Fearless Fund team is more than a source of capital infusion for the companies they invest in. In addition to a robust mentor program, the team is leveraging their network to build out an optional Celebrity Equity-Based Endorsement program for their portfolio companies. This program aims to quickly scale companies by connecting them with celebrities for influencer marketing campaigns.
Fearless Fund is proof that women of color are founding and growing businesses that drive strong returns for their investors while multiplying the number of women of color who are investors. 2017 and 2018 reports showed little-to-no growth in the amount of funding allocated toward WOC-led businesses. It’s time that we have positive numbers to report in terms of VC funding for WOC-led businesses. Fearless Fund is the key—the game-changer.
For more information on the Fearless Fund, visit www.fearless.fund.
ABOUT THE FEARLESS FUND: Fearless Fund invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level, or series A financing. Its mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies. Fearless Fund is built by women of color for women of color.