Mastercard is putting the focus on furthering its efforts to level the playing field for Black women when it comes to securing venture capital funding. The company recently announced it would make a multi-million dollar investment in the Fearless Fund, a VC firm that was launched to support the entrepreneurial endeavors of women of color.
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Founded in 2019 by Keshia Knight Pulliam and Arian Simone, the Fearless Fund was cultivated to eliminate the barriers that women of color face when trying to secure VC funding for their businesses. Research revealed a mere 0.27 percent of Black women received VC funding between 2018 and 2019 and the Fearless Fund creators are on a mission to change the narrative. The firm provides founders with the resources and support needed to thrive in the realm of entrepreneurship. The investment from Mastercard will go towards the expansion of the Fearless Fund’s portfolio by providing more women of color-led businesses with funding.
“This multi-million dollar investment from Mastercard is further proof of their commitment to providing resources in an effort to better serve the hard-working but severely underfunded Women of Color entrepreneurs who so deserve equal capital distribution,” Arian Simone, Co-Founder & General Partner of the Fearless Fund, said in a statement. “We have been working together with Mastercard for almost 3 years now and look forward to growing this relationship.” Michael Froman, who serves as President of Strategic Growth at Mastercard, believes the investment will help eliminate the racial and gender disparities surrounding entrepreneurship adding that it is “critical in driving forward innovation and fueling inclusive, sustained economic recovery across our country.”
News about the investment comes months after Mastercard teamed up with songstress Jennifer Hudson to unveil the Strivers Initiative; a consumer-centered platform created to amplify the voices of Black women founders throughout the U.S. and spread awareness about their businesses.