It see s that 2021 is the year for black Venture Capitalists to expand access to capital for black owned businesses.
An A-list of celebrity investors are investing millions of dollars in a black-owned snack company, and helping the black female owner make history in the process.
Partake Foods which was founded by Denise Woodard, a black woman, just snagged a $4.8 million round of funding that will fuel the company’s operations, marketing, and manufacturing.
Among the celebrity investors is billionaire R&B star Rihanna as well as Black Capital and Black Star Fund belonging to ex NBA players Kevin Johnsons and Bobby Wagner.
All the new investors into Partake Food investments are said to be from black celebrities like Jay Z through his Venture Capital Fund Marcy Venture Partners.
H.E.R, a Grammy award winning singer is going to be pouring in her own substantial investment of $7.5 million.
It was no accident that these black A-listers chose to invest in a black owned business.
“That was very deliberate,” explained Denise Woodard. “I feel very passionate about continuing to increase wealth in the Black community wherever possible and so having investors on board that understand those missions and goals is really important to me.”
These investors come influencers have helped Woodard to make her mark in history as the first woman of color to receive $1 million in funding for a culinary startup.
Partake Foods has been growing rapidly, with 350 stores opening just last year.
By the sounds of it, she is going to need the money. Woodard wants to set up a massive 5,500 physical locations by the end of the year. Taking her company from just 350 stores last year to 5,500 locations will be an ambitious undertaking.
The exciting funding round is evidence that black investors are actively looking to invest in black enterprises
Rihanna’s participation in this funding round was unique because it is her first time to invest outside of her own ventures. Apart from Rihanna and Kevin Johnson, John Foraker, Jay Z, and HER were also investing. Rihanna was the lead investor though.
Partake is a snack brand that is allergy-friendly and it has catapulted founder Woodard to her own unique position as the first black woman of color to raise $1 million for a food startup. She plans on using the money to fuel her rapid expansion plans.
Woodard is well aware that even though black women are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in America, they get less than 1% in funding. Woodard hopes that her work will help to change that situation so that black women are better able to raise funding for their businesses.
Partake is at the helm of a fellowship program called Black Futures in Food $ Beverage that is working to build inclusivity in the food industry. Her initiative brings together HBCUs, NC A&T, Clark Atlanta, Florida A&M, and Howard.
Woodard hopes that her remarkable story, which begins with her selling cookies out of her car, will inspire other people towards greatness.
“I sold cookies out of my car up and down the street in New York every single day; I drove to natural food stores and did demos every single day . . . there’s so much of a longer grind,” she says. “I say that to say that if I can figure this out and get here, anyone can.”
If Woodard succeeds in her vision, she won’t be the last woman of color to raise millions of dollars in funding for a food startup.