PayPal Investing $50 Million In Black And Latinx-Led VC Funds

By Amit Chowdhry ● October 30, 2020
  • PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) recently announced it is investing $50 million in eight early-stage Black and Latinx-led venture capital funds. These are the details.

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) recently announced it is investing $50 million in eight early-stage Black and Latinx-led venture capital funds: Chingona Ventures; Fearless Fund; Harlem Capital; Precursor Ventures; Slauson & Co.; VamosVentures; Zeal Capital Partners; and one additional fund. These investments are part of PayPal’s commitment to invest $530 million to support Black-owned businesses, strengthen underrepresented minority communities, and fight for racial equity and economic equality.

PayPal will work collaboratively with these early-stage funds and, in some cases, invest directly in businesses through PayPal Ventures, its venture capital arm. PayPal Ventures invests in series A through later funding rounds of startups in areas of strategic relevance to PayPal, including financial services, commerce enablement and payments infrastructure. PayPal will also begin offering a three-month fellowship to a Black or Latinx graduate student each semester, through which the PayPal Ventures team will provide coaching, training, and mentoring.

In September, PayPal awarded about $5 million in grants to 20 nonprofit community partners to support Black-owned businesses across the U.S. in their recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. And in August, PayPal completed the distribution of $10 million in empowerment grants to Black-owned small businesses to help them stabilize and reopen during the pandemic. Plus the company also announced a $50 million deposit in Optus Bank, a Black-owned bank based in South Carolina dedicated to providing equal access to capital and financial services for minority communities as part of an initiative to make deposits in Black- and minority-owned financial institutions.

These are more details about the funds:

Chingona Ventures

Chingona Ventures is seeking to drive returns by investing in founders with a unique perspective on a customer base that many venture investors do not understand. And the firm’s belief is that if you have a truly diverse portfolio, you will beat industry average returns. The firm was founded by Samara Mejia Hernandez, Chingona Ventures is based in Chicago.

Fearless Fund

Fearless Fund invests in women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level, or series A financing. And its mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies. Fearless Fund has been built by women of color for women of color. The firm was founded by Arian Simone, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Ayana Parsons. Fearless Fund is based in Atlanta.

Harlem Capital

Harlem Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. And it makes investments of $500,000 to $1 million in Seed and Series A rounds. Founded by Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle, Harlem Capital is based in New York.

Precursor Ventures

Precursor Ventures invests in people at the earliest stage of the entrepreneurial journey. And Precursor Ventures is a classic seed-stage venture capital firm investing in long-term relationships with founders it believes in. Precursor Ventures was founded by Charles Hudson and is based in San Francisco.

Slauson & Co.

Slauson & Co. is a platform comprised of creators, investors, entrepreneurs, operators and community builders. And it represents a culture where values matter and a belief that entrepreneurship is the most powerful vehicle to enable economic inclusion. Plus it provides a pathway to success for people of color, women and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs by providing access to capital, mentorship and operational resources. Slauson & Co. was founded by Austin Clements and Ajay Relan. And Slauson & Co. is based in Los Angeles.

VamosVentures

VamosVentures has a mission to generate market returns and empower diverse communities through wealth creation, talent pipeline building, social mobility, and unique tech-driven solutions to challenges that are persistent in our communities. Founded by Marcos Gonzalez, VamosVentures is based in Los Angeles.

Zeal Capital Partners

Zeal Capital Partners partners with diverse management teams building early-stage businesses that are bridging America’s wealth and skills gap and reimagining the building blocks of wealth – from education to employment and financial health. Launched by Nasir Qadree, Zeal Capital Partners is based in Washington, D.C.

KEY QUOTES:

“Black and Latinx founders have been underrepresented in venture capital funding for far too long. By directing our dollars to investors from underrepresented communities, we’re supporting their investment in Black and Latinx entrepreneurs at the earliest stages. We’re honored to support this outstanding group of venture capitalists as we seek to bring more equity to the fundraising process.”

— Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal

“PayPal recognizes that our lived experience allows us to deeply empathize with the journey of other women of color entrepreneurs. Women of color should be able to pitch to people who look like them on the other side of the table. We’re excited to begin this relationship with PayPal.”

— Arian Simone, founding partner of Fearless Fund

“I believe this initiative from PayPal will have real impact on the demographics of founders that receive funding at the seed-stage. Not only that, but the PayPal team can bring unique counsel and expertise to these companies as they grow.”

— Charles Hudson, founding partner of Precursor Ventures

“We’re proud to welcome PayPal as an inaugural investor in our new fund. Through our investments, we hope to be a catalyst for positive change for people who face historic disparities in access to capital and opportunity.”

— Austin Clements, founding partner of Slauson & Co.

“Not only is it undeniable that there is a pipeline of extraordinary diverse tech visionaries who are being overlooked, it is also imperative to the country to fully utilize and incorporate their ideas, talent and gumption. PayPal’s investment, alongside those from our other limited partners, will help us support this group and improve the landscape for everyone.”

— Marcos C. Gonzalez, founding partner of VamosVentures

“Now more than ever, it’s abundantly clear that we need more businesses delivering solutions to bridge the wealth and skills gap at scale. We’re thrilled to have PayPal recognize that our Inclusive Investing™ strategy positions us to source, invest and scale high growth early-stage businesses across the U.S. and beyond the major finance and technology hubs.”

— Nasir Qadree, founder and managing partner of Zeal Capital Partners