By Nancy Dahlberg
Black founders are invited to compete for a cool million in funding in a new pitch competition. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest, along with partners Opportunity Hub and 100 Black Angels & Allies, are hosting the Equity Edition of Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Tour, a virtual event, Dec. 1-3.
The week will include a series of virtual panels with nationwide leaders on how to best support Black founders as well as the $2M virtual pitch event for Black-founded startups based in the U.S., but outside of the startup hubs of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.
Founders can apply to pitch at tour.revolution.com until Oct. 25.
The why behind this effort: the alarming statistic that only 1% of venture-backed companies have Black founders.
“Revolution has long advocated for more funding for startups based outside of the coastal tech hubs, but we must do more to specifically level the playing field for Black founders, who currently receive less than 1% of venture funding. This tour is just one part of what must be a broader effort to scale and sustain inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem building in overlooked cities across America,” said Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution, in a statement.
Alarmed by the reality that more than three-quarters of all venture capital goes to just three states – California, New York and Massachusetts -- Revolution’s Rise of the Rest team has traveled to more than 40 cities in the past six years -- including Miami, Tampa, Orlando and the Space Coast in 2019. “We first partnered with OHUB and its Co-founder and CEO Rodney Sampson to support entrepreneurs of color when Revolution brought the Rise of the Rest Bus Tour to Atlanta in 2015, and we are excited to join forces with them again to launch this powerful initiative,” said Case.
The grand prize winning startup will receive a $1 million investment ($500,000 each from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab) and the two runners up will receive $500,000. with additional co-investment from OHUB’s affiliate 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund has raised $300M to invest in early stage startups outside of Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston and as invested in about 150 startups.
Caribu and Xendoo have been past winners. Who will represent the 305, 954 and 561 this year?
The virtual pitch event is open to the public. Details: tour.revolution.com.
2 Miami’s DDA dangles $50K to lure out-of-state companies
The Miami Downtown Development Authority is hoping its new "Follow the Sun" campaign – and $50,000 for up to 3 years – will help more high-paying companies – including tech companies – to say yes to relocating to the Magic City. The timing is right because the pandemic appears to be spurring companies to put a higher priority on quality of life – along with the usual attraction of a low-tax environment.
The Follow the Sun campaign incentives are available to businesses with at least 10 employees that earn a minimum salary of $68,000 per year., the DDA said. Businesses can earn a one-time payment of $500 per employee and receive up to $50,000 per year for up to three years.
"We are primarily focused on financial services companies, technology firms, and companies looking to setup a regional headquarters in Downtown Miami," DDA Executive Director Christina Crespi told the South Florida Business Journal.
3 Ohanian raising $150 million fund
TechCrunch reports that Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and early-stage VC firm Initialized Capital, is raising a new fund called 776, with a target of $150 million. Ohanian, now a Palm Beach County resident who left Initialized about a month ago to pursue a new “project,” declined to comment on the fund due to general solicitation rules.
Ohanian also launched sevensevensix.com, a reference to the first Olympics in 776 B.C.E. and likely a nod to his Olympian wife Serena Williams and their daughter Olympia. The fund in the works is rumored to be an seed-stage fund. Stay tuned.
4 Opportunity knocks: Apply now
Here’s a trio of opportunities.
- Awesome Foundation Miami and Refresh Miami are looking for #Tech4Good ideas that could have a positive impact on our community. Your idea could win $1,000. Apply at miami by Oct. 15.
- Black Men Talk Tech is calling for applicants for its BMTT Unicorn Ambition Pitch Competition Oct. 25. Four cash prizes will be offered, ranging from $1,125 to @5,000. You can apply by OcT. 15 here. ly/bmttconpitch.
- HERImpact’s is calling all Miami-based female social entreprenuers to apply to its second virtual Pitch Competition. Apply now to. Submit applications here by Sept 30.
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