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Somewhere in Brixton, a district in south London, Black Seed founders Karl Lokko, Cyril Lutterodt, and Yvonne Nagawa are thinking about their cross-Atlantic cousins.
As the first European venture capital firm investing in Black-owned businesses, they are here to shift paradigms locally and with their family across the pond.
In 2022, venture funding hit $198.4 billion in the U.S.
Less than 1% went to Black-founded start-ups. That’s a drop from the “record breaking” 1.3% in 2021.
Similar to the U.S., Black entrepreneurs face uphill battles in the U.K. for their tech start-ups.
“There are certain challenges that Black entrepreneurs face that their peers don’t. We speak to many start-up founders who have no mentor or network of support,” says Nagawa, Chief of Staff.
According to the BBC, they raised over $5 million since the firm began in 2021.
Black Seed plans to start investing in 30 Black-led start-ups by 2026.
Black Seed removes barriers and makes it seamless for entrepreneurs to ‘Submit Your Pitch’ directly to them for consideration.
Black Seed leads with love
Offering empathy and understanding over racially rigid algorithms, Black Seed proudly boasts:
“We help Black founders build the impossible. We offer money on your terms. You bring ambition, we’ll bring connections. We are rooted in Brixton, but have a global ambition.”
“We know Black founders are over-mentored and under-funded. We know because we’ve lived it,” says Cyril, managing director of Black Seed.
Further, Lutterodt pitched to 150 investors and went through 10 accelerators with his most recent startup, healthtech ZOI, and he still couldn’t raise “a single dime,” he told Sifted.
“Black Seed is not just building a fund.”
According to EU Startups, “It has built a community of Black founders and Black entrepreneurs with the ambition of nurturing Black talent for the benefit of the entire tech and investor ecosystem.”
Brixton, Black Seed’s main hub, is an area steeped in Afro-Caribbean history with Lokko adding that setting up operations there, rather than fancy London finance hubs like Soho and Mayfair, was “putting out the bat signal for Black founders.”
As Chairman at Black Seed and co-founder of DBK studios, Lokko told Business Insider, “We exist to make the Black Silicon Valley, which our cross-Atlantic cousins haven’t pulled off yet.”
He furthered, “Our aim is to shoot for as high as possible and others will come in on our building blocks and community endorsement.”
Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has… More by Ezekiel J. Walker