Ever hear about Black Planet?
Well, then let’s talk about it.
Before Facebook, there was Myspace & before Myspace; there was Black Planet.
Yup! Black Planet.
BlackPlanet was a superrr early website, developed for black people to connect online. The precursor social network was launched on September 1, 2001 by Omar Wasow. –who’s currently pursuing his Ph.D in African American Studies @Harvard.
If you’re curious, yes, Black Planet was actually quite popular. They even had a few…”adult-poser” users at the time…lol.
& you can still log on their website www.blackplanet.com, although it’s bought by RadioOne.
So what exactly happened to BlackPlanet one might ask?
Well… there are a few stories; some say there was a grudge between co-founders, some said it was outdated, others simply felt there was too much going on.
But what do we think?
There’s something much larger at play here.
2018 was a record setting year for venture capital funding. Specifically, for Venture Capital (VC) companies that invest in startups.
“It was a year of superlatives: the most amount of money invested in the highest number of private tech company financing events on record; the largest venture capital deals in history; the rise and rise of supergiant venture rounds; and the elephantine funds that shake the market with every deal they make.”
With a whopping $100B investment pie in 2018, one might ask, what percentage of that went to founders of a specific hue?
Black. We are talking about Black people. Negros.
“Nationally, 87% of founders are white with over 12% Asian and less than 1% black.”
Sounds familiarly fishy.
Do you see where we are going with this?
BlackPlanet was founded in 1999; Myspace, 2003 & Facebook in 2004.
Now, say you were a young African American startup founder in 1999.
You had this awesome idea & now you have an exploding website, so you begin to look for funding, in hopes to use it to grow your website. The 20 twenty computers in your garage are just no longer cutting it.
So you do what you heard everyone else with internet companies are doing at the time; pursue VC funding.
The numbers are clear, there simply was not much VC funding available for BlackPlanet to be able to compete with the likes of; Myspace for engineers, or Facebook for designers. It seemed they had been bested at a game they were first to. Frustrated out.
VC funds for African American female founders, just at a meager 0.2%.
headlines like: This Venture Capital Fund Is Investing $36 Million In Black Female Founders are replacing headlines like: Sadly, black female founders receive basically zero venture capital.
Big Shout out to Jessica O. Matthews ! She’s the black founder & CEO of a renewable energy tech startup called; Uncharted Play. Her company was able to amass $7 million in funding.
This is relevant because;
every culture has its own “intellectually low-hanging-fruit“.
Simply put, it marketable & advantageous for someone of Asian descent to create an app or program tailored to cater to Asian peoples needs. Or like a sneaker-head running a sneaker-head-blog. Get it? It’s easy to market to your niché.
#NegorDevelopers #NegroFounders for #NegroNeeds
So with less than 1% of the “pie” how do black start-ups get funding?
With entrepreneurs like Arlan Hamilton bringing diversity to VC funding. Starting funds like; Backstage Capital a bootstrapped $12 million nano-venture capital fund
& Kristina Jones, cofounder of Court Buddy . Which raised 6million USD!
So naturally, 2019
will be one for the record books.
Support our entrepreneurs by using, & sharing the solutions they engineer as it would probably be tailored to our experiences & also so they can continue to solve for our problems.
& that’s all folks in this week’s talk.