New York City-based Harlem Capital has closed a $40.3 million fund that will be used to support start-ups founded by women and people of color. The venture capital firm plans to use the money to invest between $250,000 and $1 million in Series A or seed financing of post-revenue businesses. The company has already invested in 14 diverse companies including pet wellness platform Wagmo, gig economy marketplace Jobble and feminine hygiene product Aunt Flow.
Harlem Capital was founded by Jarrid Tingle and Henri Pierre-Jacques in 2015 with the goal of investing in 1,000 diverse companies over the next 20 years. Since then the angel syndicate has grown to a full-fledged venture capital (VC) firm.
Pierre-Jacques and Tingle have created an internship program to develop future investors of color. This initiative can help close the VC funding gap. According to available figures, 81% of VC firms in 2018 did not have a single investor of color. And this lack of diversity in VC funds led to a huge disparity in the amount of VC funding received by women and people of color founders compared to white male founders. In 2018, women received only 2.2% of total VC funding while black women founders received none.