Techstars and Harlem Capital Partners have been working closely since October 2019 to close the capital gap in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. They have renewed a three year partnership to continue the work of growing investment in historically underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Harlem Capital Partners is on a mission to invest in women-founded and minority-founded companies in an effort to bridge the gap of investment. This work has to be led with intentionality and this partnership has proved that dedication to supporting these founders directly is working.
Over two and a half years working together, Harlem Capital Partners has invested in 8 Techstars alumni and affiliated companies as a part of the Harlem Capital Partners Venture Fund I, LP at $40.3 million. The companies that received funding through this partnership include:
Wagmo, Pet wellness and insurance
Aunt Flow, B2B feminine hygiene products
Repeat, Enables Consumer Packaged Goods brands to turn one-time buyers into repeat customers
4Degrees, Intelligent relationship manager
Curu, Fixing credit scores for those who need them most
WorkChew, Marketplace connecting remote workers with restaurant and hotel spaces
Paladin, Easy way for lawyers to find cases
Cashdrop, Mobile commerce platform to launch online businesses
Six of these investments were made through this partnership, one received funding from the HCP angel fund, and one was an introduction made by a member of the Techstars network.
These investments were fostered by a series of meaningful engagements that led to relationships between Techstars alumni and Harlem Capital Partners. HCP hosted 1:1 office hours for Techstars alumni in order to start building relationships with founders. “When our Alumni received the opportunity to sign up for office hours with Harlem Capital Partners the time slots filled up in less than 20 minutes.” says Andrea Perdomo, Network Catalyst at Techstars. “These entrepreneurs are eager to make connections with investors who see value in their lived experiences and are committed to investing in diversity. It has been an honor to create access to capital for our entrepreneurs with outcomes we can measure.” They also provided fundraising advice, attended monthly Techstars Latinx Alumni meet ups, and hosted exclusive events for Techstars Alumni during investors days.
“This collaboration with Harlem Capital Partners allows us to support more Techstars alumni that identify as being underrepresented entrepreneurs, creating access to capital that can alter the trajectory of a company at this early stage,” says Kevin Liu, Director of Portfolio Capital at Techstars. “In addition, the knowledge sharing between our organizations will allow us both to continue developing our programs to better support these entrepreneurs at every stage.”
The partnership goes beyond just investing. HCP refers accelerator-ready underrepresented entrepreneurs to Techstars accelerators, creating a pathway into these exclusive accelerators — and the capital, mentorship, and customers that often come with the accelerator experience. They supply interns for the Exploring Talent Pathway, which places young people who are exploring possible career paths with Techstars alumni companies and Techstars accelerator program teams to provide them with invaluable real world experience. And HCP provides mentorship opportunities for Techstars alumni entrepreneurs.
“It’s been a joy partnering with Techstars as we work towards our shared goals and commitment of elevating underrepresented founders in the tech ecosystem,” says Gabby Cazeau, Principal at Harlem Capital. “As we continue expanding our partnership, together we will be able to create more opportunities for founders, operators, and other visionaries eager to make an impact.”
This partnership is creating the beginnings of real change in the tech ecosystem. It is a model for VCs who are committed to providing capital to underrepresented entrepreneurs, and growing the diversity of entrepreneurship and tech.
Harlem Capital Partners (HCP) is an early-stage, diversity-focused venture capital firm. HCP makes initial investments of $1-2mm in Seed rounds of US domiciled companies for 10%+ ownership. HCP seeks investments in enterprise and consumer tech with focus on e-commerce, fintech, wellness, SaaS and cryptocurrency.
The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,500 companies with a combined market cap of more than $220B. www.techstars.com