Less than 1% of all high-growth technology startups are led by Black and Latino entrepreneurs. Even worse, just a fraction secure pre-seed capital for growth.
The Black and Latino Angel Investment Fund was launched in 2020 by the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School in Newark and a group of individual accredited investors to provide the necessary seed capital for Black- and Latino-owned technology businesses to grow and scale.
On Wednesday, the BLAIF announced Bank of America is stepping in to help, becoming an investor in the fund.
Lyneir Richardson, executive director of CUEED and the founder of the BLAIF, said he is happy for the partnership.
“We are thrilled to welcome Bank of America as an investor in the Black and Latino Investment Fund of New Jersey,” he said. “Bank of America’s ongoing efforts to address the persistent gap in access to growth capital for underrepresented founders align with our strategy of investing in exceptional Black and Latino entrepreneurs with exceptional business ideas ready for scale. We look forward to expanding our work.”
Alberto Garofalo, president, Bank of America New Jersey, said the bank is eager to help — and notes investments such as this are just one component of Bank of America’s $1.25 billion commitment to racial equality and economic opportunity.
“Access to capital remains one of the biggest challenges for minority-owned businesses,” Garofalo said. “Working together, we can create the conditions that enable new ideas to flourish, thereby ensuring that the opportunities we want for all of our citizens and the strong economy we want for our community are within our reach.”
Richardson said fund managers are patient, optimistic impact investors who assess potential growth and risk of these startups, and help entrepreneurs deliver upon their visions. This includes securing additional capital; providing real-time, situational mentorship; introducing prospective customers, suppliers and other growth resources; and stewarding additional capacity building with larger accelerators.
Richardson said the Black and Latino Angel Investment Fund accepts applications from entrepreneurs in New Jersey and New York or ties to this geography, on a rolling basis. The group also is accepting new individual accredited and institutional investors. For more on both, click here.