Twelve of the UK’s top Black tech entrepreneurs are flying out to NYC today for the first-of-its-kind trade mission to make connections and pitch to US investors.
Organized by the British Consulate-General in New York the Black Tech Founders Mission is a culmination of several weeks of collaboration with the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT). The founders will meet investors, advisors, and leaders at tech accelerators in a unique opportunity to raise their profiles within the wider US tech ecosystem.
“I am delighted to welcome this impressive group of Black founders to New York, who represent some of the most innovative emerging tech firms in the UK, said Emma Wade-Smith, the consul-general. “According to some research, in 2019 just 2.9 percent of deals that UK VCs made had Black founders, and we must take concrete steps to reduce this disparity.”
Despite racial inequity in venture capital funding, these handpicked, Black-led startups have collectively raised over $43 million. They include The Stack World, which has raised $7.2 million, and AudioMob which sealed a notable $14million Series A in November 2021.
In fact, all the firms selected for this Mission are well-positioned to expand into US markets. Syrona Health has designed an app aimed at engaging and supporting women’s gynecological health. Then there’s Definely, which is demystifying the art of drafting, reviewing, and understanding legal documents. Indeed, the featured innovations in this mission are as diverse as the founders who created them.
“Achieving more equal racial representation in the workplace is a top policy priority for the UK Government, and I am very pleased that this annual trade mission is making great strides in tackling this crucial challenge and we are determined to keep closing the gap,” added Wade-Smith.
The UK’s flag carrier, British Airways, partnered with the British Consulate-General in New York to fly the founders’ business class roundtrip in support of this mission.
“Transatlantic connectivity is vital for the UK’s economic recovery,” said Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO. “Part of building back the economy is investing in and supporting entrepreneurial talent, which is why as the UK’s national flag carrier, we are delighted to be working alongside the British Consul General in New York to support these talented innovators to develop their networks and elevate their profiles on an international scale.
“At British Airways we champion diversity and inclusion, and the UK Black Founders Mission aligns with our BA Better World program and our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture, that reflects the global communities we serve.”
This inaugural 2-month program, starting virtually and culminating with an in-person visit to NYC (Feb 22-24), focuses on scaling a tech business & raising VC funding in the US.
“Achieving more equal racial representation in the workplace is a top policy priority for the UK Government, and I am very pleased that this annual trade mission is making great strides in tackling this crucial challenge and we are determined to keep closing the gap.”
The inaugural 2022 cohort offers UK-based, Black-founded companies the opportunity to explore the US tech ecosystem. Recognizing the barriers Black tech founders face accessing venture capital, the mission will seek to elevate the founders’ profiles to NYC-based investors and the wider NYC tech community. The delegates will engage with over 100 US-based venture capitalists through networking events, meetings, and a capstone pitch night.
The UK founders will also meet with their US counterparts to discuss the differences between scaling a business on each side of the Atlantic and the lived Black entrepreneur experience in the UK & the US.
More information on the 2022 UK Black Founders Mission in New York may be found here.
Main Image: AudioMob / co-founders (l-r) Wilfrid Obeng and Christian Facey (photo courtesy of Christian Facey)