$55K in Grants Awarded to Three Entrepreneurs from Underrepresented Communities

Staff Report

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

The Goizueta Business School announced the first three investments from its new Peachtree Minority Venture Fund (PMVF). The student-run venture fund is the first of its kind to make equity investments for U.S.-based and underrepresented Black, Latinx, and Native American entrepreneurs.

Why It Matters (Axios):
Black entrepreneurs are rejected for loans at a rate almost 20% higher than white entrepreneurs
Only 1.3 percent of venture capital dollars went to Black businesses last year
Lack of venture capital available results in only six percent of businesses being Hispanic-owned

An integral part of The Roberto C. Goizueta Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the $1 million fund awarded its initial round of capital totaling $55K to the following entrepreneurs:

CommunityX of Los Angeles, a mobile-first social app that unites like-minded change-makers around shared causes, was awarded $25,000. The app leverages traditional social media algorithmic thinking to be able to connect people and calls to action, such as petitions, events, donations, and more.
Ecotone Renewables of Pittsburgh, the maker of Soil Sauce, a liquid plant fertilizer organically produced from food waste earned a $15,000 award. By making sustainable food and agriculture systems more accessible and prevalent outside the industrial scale, Ecotone is building the tools necessary to empower communities to redevelop and grow through sustainable food practices.
FundStory, an Atlanta-based company that helps finance teams access and manage non-dilutive capital, was awarded $15,000. This type of capital does not require a business owner to give up equity or ownership and is often essential to launching a startup. FundStory offers all-in-one workflow management software to help finance teams evaluate risk, automate funding options, and manage financing into maturity.

Students Reflect on Experiential Learning and Key Takeaways from Funding Award Process

The 24 participating MBA, Evening MBA, BBA, and Law School students received academic credit for their work in the semester-long class. The course, part of a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) concentration for full-time MBA students, focuses on understanding factors that contribute to the gap in venture capital funding to underrepresented minority entrepreneurs and how this challenge might best be addressed.

The students formed into six teams, each assigned to find minority-owned startups in one sector: consumer products and goods, energy, fintech, healthcare technology, information technology, and manufacturing.

“We worked through a very traditional process of what you see in other VC firms, to make sure that we find exceptional founders who showcased their know-how and their specific industry and product so that we could proceed to actually make an investment,” said Jack Semrau, a current Evening MBA student at Goizueta Business School and the fund’s managing partner for deal sourcing and portfolio management.

The fund grew from the work of recent Goizueta MBA graduates, Brianna Davis, Kristen Little, Chis Anen, Alan Quigley, and Willie Sullivan, who learned from local underrepresented entrepreneurs that access to capital was a major pain point, and they wanted to do something about it.

The Peachtree Minority Venture Fund is an example of Goizueta’s continuing commitment to DEI. Learn more about Goizueta’s commitment to advancing DEI. For more information and to get involved, visit the Peachtree Minority Venture Fund website.