Contributions from businesses of all kinds shape the way people live and work on a daily basis. Home to a variety of new startups hoping to play their part, Atlanta is no stranger to innovative solutions, but those innovations are of little use if they never get off the ground. Placing faith in the potential of startups led by women of color, the Fearless Fund works to bring ideas that are often unheard to the foreground of funding.
While the U.S. is known as the world’s melting pot and is home to numerous cultures and ethnicities, business opportunities for people from underrepresented groups are scarce compared to those belonging to the majority. Overall, diversity is poorly represented in the venture capital world. Most venture capitalists are white men — about 58 percent of them — and 93 percent of the wealth management industry is controlled by the same demographic, according to research cited by Forbes.
That leaves far less venture capital in the hands of those who belong to marginalized groups, a statistic that Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons are eager to change. The two established the Fearless Fund in 2019.
When Simone was looking to start her own business, she found that none of the investors resembled her, a Black woman. Now, with her own firm having recently closed on its first fund of $25 million, as reported by Fortune, she has the chance to be the investor she never had.
Fearless Fun received the capital from investors including Mastercard, Bank of America and Ally Bank, and so far, the firm has invested in 20 companies across the country. A few names in its portfolio so far include banking solution CapWay and beauty product company Range Beauty.
The firm’s most recent endeavor was Atlanta-based Travelsist, a company Veronica Woodruff founded to offer assistance to those traveling in airports. What got started as a rental company for baby gear evolved into a software and staffing platform to help people navigate the bustling Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, as reported by Hypepotamus. Fearless Fund supplied the startup’s very first capital investment of $250,000.
“Fearless Fund was established to address the gap that exists in venture capital funding for WOC-led [women of color-led] businesses and to finally push the needle on the abysmal statistics that drive the current narrative for WOC-led businesses today,” the company said on its website.