STANFORD, California, June 23, 2016—On the heels of President Barack Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University, an international group of influential Black Stanford alumni today announced the creation of a $5 million investment fund that will provide financial support and resources to techpreneurs that are current students and recent graduates. The Black Angel Technology Investment Fund (BATIF) aims to bridge the gap in technology funding by helping Blacks develop and launch entrepreneurial ventures.
Despite the increasing number of Black entrepreneurs over the past 20 years, very few have been able to gain access to private equity, angel investor and venture capital communities that have driven investment in the innovative new companies and industries, especially in the technology space.
“During and since our time at Stanford, the BATIF founders have all been involved with and exposed to leading solutions and technologies that have shaped today’s technological landscape,” said co-founder Obi Ugwonali. “Establishing an investment fund and incubator furthers our influence and outreach by allowing us to invest in innovative Black entrepreneurs and startups that will lead the next wave of technological advancement.”
“Our goal is to identify early stage startups and provide them with necessary capital and mentorship,” said Kwame Anku. “Our guiding light for our investment decisions is triple bottom line: Create more opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter this space, create more returns for investors who are not normally in this space, and create social impact that makes the world a better place.”
The selected companies will go through a rigorous process which will include industry recommendations and a three-tier competition. BATIF also plans to provide discretionary funds to co-invest with other angel funds for exciting new companies that are already attracting investment.
“There simply aren't enough investors willing to really sit and listen to young black entrepreneurs,” said Ayanna Wooten-Days. “The fund shifts the narrative.”
"Our team will take a hands-on approach, leveraging our startup experience, industry knowledge, and networks to help the techpreneurs meet their goals while part of the incubator," said Marc Mitchell.
"Unique to BATIF are the relationships and communities that we have fostered which will support and bolster our techpreneurs," said Ronald Berry. "Our sizeable network and community of accomplished Black professionals provide an association of mentors, corporate partners and investors that our startups can rely on to succeed."
BATIF also announced the launch of the Black Angel Technology Innovation Foundation. The foundation will seek to impact the success rate for Black technology entrepreneurial endeavors.
“You don’t have to look far to encounter data that confirms Blacks are underrepresented in tech companies as both investors and creators,” said Myisha Gatson. “It shouldn’t be a surprise then that Black entrepreneurial endeavors are perceived as less likely to succeed. The foundation will change both the perception and the reality for Black entrepreneurs.”
Learn more at http://www.blackangeltechfund.com
About the Black Angel Technology Investment Fund
The Black Angel Technology Investment Fund is an incubator and investment fund dedicated to investing in passionate and aspiring Black entrepreneurs. Members of our leadership team embed themselves within the startups to successfully launch products and reach funding milestones.
About the Black Angel Technology Innovation Foundation
The Black Angel Technology Innovation Foundation is an organization that aims to increase the representation of Blacks in the technology and innovation economy.
About the Founders
Kwame Anku is the Founder and President of New Dawn Global Enterprises, an international business development and consulting group. Kwame served as the National Director of Strategic Development for #YesWeCode and has been featured as a subject expert on CNN, MSNBC, BBC and NPR. Kwame earned a BA in African -American Studies from Stanford.
Ronald Berry is Head of Digital IT for LATAM Airlines in Santiago, Chile. Ron earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and a BS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford.
Myisha M. Gatson is Director of Provider & Hospital Engagement for the Health & Human Services in the Obama administration. Myisha earned a MA in Public Administration in Health Policy and Administration from the New York University Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, and a BA in Human Biology s from Stanford. Myisha currently serves as the Executive Director of the Black Angel Technology Innovation Foundation.
Marc Mitchell is co-founder and CEO of Lootsie, Inc., a technology company that makes loyalty and rewards software for mobile games and applications. Marc earned a JD from New York University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford.
Dr. Obi Ugwonali is a distinguished orthopedic surgeon currently serving as chairman of orthopedic surgery at Northside Hospital in Atlanta and is the medical director of his practice’s surgery center. Obi earned an MD from Yale School of Medicine. He completed his residency training at Columbia University and fellowship training at Harvard School of Medicine. Obi earned a dual degree in Biology and Economics from Stanford.
Dana Weeks Ugwonali is currently the founder and CEO of meme&be, a retail start-up company. Prior to this, Dana served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa and worked in marketing and technology at AT&T. Dana earned an MBA in Marketing and Management from Columbia Business School and a BA with Honors in Anthropology from Stanford. Dana currently serves as President of the Black Angel Technology Innovation Foundation.
Ayanna Wooten-Days is a corporate and securities attorney for a diverse range of clients in a variety of industries including corporations, nonprofits and early stage and growth companies. Her focus is on capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance. Ayanna earned a JD from Georgetown University and a BA in African-American Studies from Stanford.