Changing the face of entrepreneurship 💼
Harlem Capital's Henri Pierre-Jacques on driving innovation by diversifying entrepreneurship
Join us for our next conversation with Henri Pierre-Jacques, Managing Partner of Harlem Capital, on changing the face of entrepreneurship. Register here for the January 26th event.
In October TechCrunch reported that Black founders received only 0.13 percent of venture capital funding across the U.S. in the third quarter. That’s roughly $39.7 million out of $29.9 billion invested in startups over the three months, the tech site reported.
It’s a significant worsening of an already bad trend in which under-represented entrepreneurs are receiving just a tiny fraction of the investment funds aimed at building the next generation of tech companies. For comparison, in the third quarter of 2022 Black founders received about 1.2 percent of all venture capital.
But Henri Pierre-Jacques of the venture capital firm Harlem Capital - which Forbes Magazine called “one of the largest Black-led VC firms by assets” - is working to change that. For our latest Opportunity Miami Conversations on our future, join us from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on Friday, January 26th for a conversation with Pierre-Jacques about investment in early-stage companies, the mission of driving truly inclusive entrepreneurship by investing in extraordinary but overlooked founders, and learn about his thoughts on life in Miami too.
BUILDING THE RANKS OF UNDER-REPRESENTED INVESTORS
In 2015 Pierre-Jacques co-founded Harlem Capital with the focus on funding minority-owned early-stage tech companies. In 2021 it announced a $134 million fund to invest in underrepresented entrepreneurs, following up on its initial $40 million fund. The aim is “changing the face of entrepreneurship” by creating generational wealth for people of color and women, says Pierre-Jacques, who is Haitian-American and grew up in Detroit before earning degrees at Northwestern University and Harvard Business School.
He and his wife moved to Miami from New York City during the pandemic.
Following George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, billions of dollars were pledged from corporations, philanthropies, and investors in support of Black entrepreneurs, along with many other racial justice initiatives. But, as the latest TechCrunch report indicates, there is a lot of work to do.
The trends in venture capital are so worrying because the stakes are so high. VCs are the people and organizations that identify promising entrepreneurs and invest the funds to create the next generation of great companies. It’s with that in mind that a key antidote is not just more venture-backed Black and women entrepreneurs, but more Black and women investors who are making the investment decisions
According to a study by the National Venture Capital Association, Black investors account for about 3 percent of all venture capital professionals, and the percentage making investment decisions is smaller. Harlem Capital, which Pierre-Jacques co-founded with Jarrid Tingle, who also attended Harvard Business School, aims to grow the ranks of Black and women founders on the investor side of the table.
“There were no other funds that were racially focused with diverse people at the top,” Pierre-Jacques told Forbes previously. “So we felt like we had to start it ourselves.”
MORE THAN 1,000 DIVERSE FOUNDERS BY 2040
Harlem Capital’s long-term goal is to invest in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. It has invested in more than 50 early-stage tech companies focused on everything from providing AI-enabled customer support or organic cosmetics for women of color to connecting remote workers to underutilized space or insurance for pets.
“Our mission is to help build a global multi-asset of diversity-focused funds over the next 20 years, so by 2040,” Pierre-Jacques said in a Q&A with Opportunity Miami in 2022. “Consider that diverse asset managers now manage about 1% of dollars and only about 2% of diverse founders are being backed, when 70% of the global population is people of color and women. We fundamentally bet we can increase that 1% or 2% to closer to that 70%.”
Hope you will join us on Jan. 26th for this important conversation about the future of building truly inclusive entrepreneurship and investment.
A new year is here. We would love to hear from you. As the future-focused arm of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Opportunity Miami is a platform for people passionate about where Miami goes next. As always, we would love to hear from you.
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