Today Mastercard reported a multimillion-dollar investment deal in the venture capital firm Fearless Fund. It is the first venture capital firm founded and owned by black women.
Fearless Fund launched in 2019, to address the unique challenges that black women business owners encounter, when it comes to obtaining pre-seed, seed level and series A financing. The mission of the firm is to close the gap in venture capital funding and create more opportunities for businesses founded by women of color.
Additionally, there is the Fearless Foundation, a 501c3 organization. On the Fearless Fund website, it states that the mission of the Fearless Foundation is to: “educate entrepreneurs through training, reduce racial inequities, and empower African-Americans to gain access to capital.” Programs include: The Mastercard Impact Fund COVID Relief Grant Program, which will disburse 10 business grants to 10 women of color entrepreneurs, in the amount of $10,000 each for COVID relief; The Get Ready Venture Program, which is a 12-month training program to educate women of color business owners on how to acquire capital; The Historically Black College and University Program, developed to reach out to college students to give them the knowledge and the tools needed to gain access to capital, and also how to attain success in entrepreneurship.
Founding Partners of Fearless Fund are Arian Simone who is the President and Chief Executive Officer; Keshia Knight Pulliam, she is the Chief Development Officer; and Ayana Parsons is the Chief Operating Officer. Together these ladies bring many years of corporate leadership experience. Arian Simone, a marketing specialist with over 17 years of entrepreneurial experience received her MBA from Florida A&M University. She also pioneered her own successful marketing firm. Keshia Knight Pulliam (thanks to cable TV reruns), we all know her as the youngest daughter “Rudy Huxtable” on the The Cosby Show. Keshia Knight Pulliam received her degree in Sociology from Spellman College and among many other accomplishments, founded “The Kamp Kizzy Foundation.” The Kamp Kizzy Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to mentor and develop young women between the ages of 11-16. Ayana Parsons brings 20 years plus as a corporate executive and consultant. Ayana Parsons earned her MBA from Florida A&M University.
In addition to Mastercard, the Fund has several other corporate investors including, Costo Wholesale, PayPal, Bank of America and Florida A&M University. To date Fearless Fund has raised at least $25 million.
Wonderful ladies, I wish you all the success in the world. We need you!