Black founders raised 0.13% of all capital allocated to U.S. startups in Q3, according to Crunchbase. That’s about $39.7 million out of $29.9 billion.
This number is a massive year-over-year drop.
In Q3 2022, Black founders raised $1 billion out of around $81.7 billion in venture dollars, around 1.2%. Actually, $39.7 million is a massive quarter-over-quarter drop. Just in Q2, Black founders raised $212 million out of $29 billion, and in Q1, they raised $352 million out of $45 billion. There seems to have been an overall dip in venture capital funding this Q3, but, as we’ve covered, funding to Black founders has been consistently declining since 2020.
“Unfortunately, the venture industry is moving in the wrong direction here,” Gené Teare, the senior data editor at Crunchbase, told TechCrunch. “It may be tempting to blame a larger market correction, but the data tells a different story.”
She pointed out that it’s not just the dollars to Black founders that are down, but also the overall percentage of funding remains low, dropping to some of its lowest levels. “Despite the valiant efforts of many firms and organizations, it’s clear that more work needs to be done to overcome biases in the ecosystem,” she continued.
To many Black founders, the dip in funding was expected. A lot of the diversity, equity and inclusion promises made after 2020 were broken, and conservative activists have started attacking grant programs that seek to help marginalized communities. Given that context, Teare said she wondered if there is now an abundance of caution in the ecosystem that is preventing investors from taking chances on first-time founders who are more likely to be diverse.
“We’ll be watching to see if the new California law sparks any changes, but it’ll be quite some time before it’s implemented and even longer before we get any answers,” she said.
On the ground, Black founders are also feeling the dip. Yves Perez, the co-founder of Workbnb, called 2023 “the year of smoke and mirrors for Black founders raising.”
He cited the broken commitments, along with other stories he heard of how difficult it was for him and his peers. “I watched several Black founders suddenly adopt AI to help them raise or drop their valuations significantly so they could get fundraising over with,” he said.
Arian Long, the founder of the period care company Femly, said although access to capital was “often impossible” this year, she and her company circumvented that by doubling down on profitability, staying lean, leveraging grants and pitching competitions.
Black founders have also spoken more and more of simply leaning into their own networks rather than seeking capital from the old guard players who have become more obvious in not supporting them. There are more emerging funds and a split in the ecosystem, where although numbers are dismal, there are indeed people passionate about backing diverse talent.
Perez and Tinia Pina, the founder of agtech company Re-Nuble, said she was able to find support in their respective networks. “I am more connected and in touch with investors that are mission and impact-aligned,” Pina said. “It’s a very conscious community of investors that try to be aware of and eliminate biases such as this.”