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Harlem Capital ‘Diverse Founder Report’ Shows Significant Growth For Black & Latinx VC-Funded Firms

Goalsetter Founder Tanya Van Court

Goalsetter Founder Tanya Van Court

Early-stage venture capital fund Harlem Capital has just published its latest 2020 Diverse Founder Report that shows ‘incredible growth’ for Black and Latinx-led venture-backed firms.

Now in its third year, the definitive report tracks Black and Brown U.S.-based trailblazers who have raised $1million or more in venture funding. The report gives a comprehensive overview of trends, industries, and companies that have reached this significant milestone.

These latest findings show an increase in the number of founders making the cut. The list grew from 200 in 2019 to 305 founders in 2020 that have raised $1M+ in VC funding, totaling $10.8B.

“This year’s report saw the greatest growth in founders, capital, and late-stage funding,” Henri Pierre-Jacques, Managing Partner at Harlem Capital, said in an interview with UrbanGeekz. “The biggest stat for me was that 10% raised $100M+ and 11% were acquired or public.”

NYC-based Harlem Capital began tracking investments in 2018 because traditional founder databases did not track by race. Their overall goal is to understand minority involvement in the VC space and widen funding access to a promising generation of diverse entrepreneurs.

Much-needed research to track ecosystem

“We launched it for ourselves because no research platforms were tracking by race 4 years ago,” added Pierre-Jacques. “We needed to know who were the diverse founders, where were they, what industries and stages were they in. It was important for us to invest and also show the market to potential investors. Eventually, we had a lot of data and decided it was best to share with the ecosystem just keeping it to ourselves.”

Other notable stats include, Latino males, seeing the largest increase by number and capital raised, according to the report. Total capital increased from $6.0bn to $10.8bn, driven by 108 Series A+ rounds (39% of companies) and 29 companies (10% of companies) that have raised $100mm+.

Harlem Capital Diverse Founder Report

Black and Latinx founders who feature in Harlem Capital’s 2020 Diverse Founder Report published on Feb 23, 2021

It also found that 89% of founders have a CEO, co-founder or founder title. According to Harlem Capital’s research, there have been 14 unicorns that have raised $5.7bn of capital totaling $28.3bn in value. The latest figures, published this week, found that there are 16 other companies that have raised $100mm+ in funding and are likely to join unicorn status in the coming years.

Out of the 305 founders, 45% are women and 55% are men. However, women only received 31% of funding, declining from 37% from last year’s report. Men and women were at a parity of median capital raised at $5.1mm for men and $4.9mm for women. Latina women have the highest median raised of $6.0mm.

Companies in the software, finance, and healthcare industries represented 49 % of all companies founded the report said. Software and finance also featured in the list of top industries for money raised. Along with real estate these industries totaled $5.9bn of capital raised.

There is no pipeline issue

Among the top 12 investors are 6 diverse led VC firms, 3 accelerators, and 3 traditional VC firms. The report said: “This year’s report showed incredible growth in the number of founders, total capital raised, and late-stage funding. We continue to believe deeply in diverse founders and are excited to see the market shifting. It should be clear there is no pipeline issue. We hope this report can serve as a guide to show investors who those founders are, what cities they’re concentrated in, as well as the variety of industries they’re disrupting.

The Harlem Capital team

The Harlem Capital team

It added: “We will continue to publish this report as more diverse founders raise capital. We know that there are founders not included in this report that we hope to support in the future.”

Harlem Capital Partners was launched in 2015 by managing partners Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood.

It is now one of the largest diversity-focused VC firms in the US. Upon launching Pierre-Jacques and Tingle announced their goal of invest in 1,000 diverse founders in 20 years.


A recent report published by RateMyInvestor and Diversity VC found that most VC investments go to companies run by white men with a university degree.

Speaking to Forbes in 2018 Pierre-Jacques said: “The world is missing out on a great deal of innovative companies — and returns — by not investing more heavily in women and diverse entrepreneurs, so we are out to address the disparity ourselves rather than waiting for VC firms to come around.”

Main Image: Tanya Van Court, founder of Goalsetter 




    Vic Motune
    Vic Motune
    Vic Motune is a veteran news editor and seasoned multimedia journalist now writing for UrbanGeekz