FAMU Foundation invests in firm started by alumnae

Alumnae Arian Simone and Ayana Parson are co-founders of the Fearless Fund. Photo courtesy Fearless Fund

The FAMU Foundation announced earlier this month that it will invest $150,000 into the $25 million Fearless Fund, which was founded by FAMU alumnae Arian Simone and Ayana Parson and Spelman College alumna Keshia Knight Pulliam.

It is the first venture capital fund that is founded by women of color to support businesses found and operated by women of color. The mission of the Fearless Fund is to “bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.”

This is the first time that the FAMU Foundation has invested in a Black-led venture capital fund.

“This marks an historic moment in the history of the FAMU Foundation, which has an investment value of $142 million and an endowment value of $106 million. We are charged with investing in and for the future of our great institution. We expect this investment to pay dividends for generations to come,” Shawnta Friday-Stroud, vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the FAMU Foundation, said in a news release.

Among the FAMU Foundation’s other investors include Costco, Bank of America, PayPal and Invest Atlanta.

“This investment from Florida A&M University is an exciting addition to our fund and furthers our mission to bridge the gap in VC funding for female founders of color, as an alumnus of Florida A&M University, having them invest in what we are building with the Fearless Fund means all the more to me,” Simone, general partner and co-founder of the Fearless Fund, said in a release.

Companies that the Fearless Foundation have worked with include EnrichHer, Capway, HairBrella, and Range Beauty.

The Fearless Fund has different programs where it trains and mentors women of color with businesses and gives them guidance to navigate the business world.

The Fearless Fund also has an HBCU program where it mentors graduating high school seniors on entrepreneurship and venturing into starting a business.

It is now offering a Mastercard Impact Fund Covid Relief Grant Program where 10 women of color entrepreneurs will receive $10,000 each. The criteria for this program is “must have a woman of color leadership with at least one woman of color co-founder that will hold significant equity in the company, a quality, resilient management team with at least one full time founder, demonstrated deep industry knowledge as well as understanding of their product and the competitive landscape,” according to the fund’s website.

The Fearless Fund also is offering $10,000 grants right now for Black women with small businesses.

“I am so happy that this is available for women of color, it’s hard to find business loans that don’t discriminate. It takes a lot of patience to start a business and a fund like this can help ease the stress of overhead costs that occur when starting up your business,” said Troiana Edgecombe, owner of Shop T.Benet.

For more information visit the Fearless Fundwebsite: https://www.fearless.fund/