Earlier this year, Hakeem Seriki, a Grammy-winning hip hop artist, entrepreneur, and angel investor better known as Chamillionaire, launched a contest for black-founded start-ups and invested $10,000 in the winner. Now, the stakes are higher for round two. He, along with West Coast rapper and investor Earl “E-40” Stevens, and the equity investing platform Republic have teamed up to award a minority and/or women-founded startup with a $25,000 investment. The contest was announced on Convoz, an app and social video conversation platform that Chamillionaire launched last year.
In terms of Venture Capital investment, Caucasians make up 87% of VC-backed CEO’s and 97% of those positions are held by men. Chamillionaire and his celebrity friends, however, are working to change that.
“I think there is a lack of diversity in the industry,” Chamillionaire told Yahoo! Finance when asked why founders of color aren’t getting financed. “Now that I’m here, I see that there is a certain type of founder that gets funding from these companies and I understand that people tend to spend money on things that they’re comfortable with so when you’re used to seeing somebody like Mark Zuckerburg walk in the door and you have an example of Mark Zuckerburg being successful then, of course, it’s more likely for you to spend money on investing in a startup like that.”
There’s no surprise that Chamillionaire teamed up with Republic for his new initiative. The rapper has been in the investment space for years and has championed the inclusion of more minorities in the tech and investing world. That mission makes Republic the perfect partner since the platform is built on the ethos of equalization of the fundraising landscape. Republic was created for startups to raise capital, giving the opportunity for everyone to invest.