Raising capital is an arduous task for any entrepreneur, but throw in a female founder who’s also African-American, and the task becomes that much more difficult.
With less than 1 percent of the more than $40 billion in venture capital funds raised each year going to Black female founders, it’s no wonder so many struggle to get their startups off the ground while an average $1.3 million is given to the traditional white male founded businesses. Kristina Jones, entrepreneur and co-founder of tech business Court Buddy, is a breath of fresh air, however, as she’s the 14th ever Black female founder to raise $1 million or more for her start-up, according to Forbes.
A report by #ProjectDiane put Jones’ success into perspective. The average amount raised by Black women seeking outside funding was only $36,000.
Court Buddy, a legal tech start-up founded by Jones and her husband in 2015, matches consumers seeking representation with vetted solo attorneys based on the client’s needs and budget. Through the innovative platform, attorneys and clients can foster long-term attorney-client relationships and work together on “a-la-carte” legal matters.
Jones has joined the likes of other noted Black female founders in the tech world like Uncharted Play founder Jessica Matthews, who was the 13th.
When asked about some of the unique obstacles she and her husband faced in fundraising, Jones said she believed her being a Black woman actually worked to her advantage.
“I think that being the co-founder of a sound, fast-growing business that has revenue and a growing number of users and that I just happen to be African-American and a woman, helped,” she told Forbes.
“It is a lot of hard work and you have to get very comfortable with hearing ‘no,’ ” she added. “We had to learn to not take the ‘no’s’ personally. Now we have such an amazing and diverse group of investors and we love that! … You just have to do some digging to really strike gold.”
Among Court Buddy’s investors are LDR Ventures, GingerBread Capital, 500 Startups and several angel investors including lawyers, doctors and Fortune 500 executives, the business news site reported.
With market demographics slowly changing, some venture capitalist firms are actively working to boost diversity among startups. Jones said she feels it’s going to take more females at the helm to help shift the ratio and get more minority female founders funded. For investors, she noted it would take stepping outside their comfort zone and overcoming bias in determining which businesses to give their money to.
“The more success stories that minority and female founders have, the more comfortable investors will feel to invest outside of their norm,” Jones said.
The budding businesswoman finished off these three tips for other female founders when it comes to fundraising: seek advice from as many founders as you can who’ve successfully fundraised, don’t be afraid to reach out to several investors and when you snag one, make sure they’re a firm you can believe in.