Where are the successful black and brown founders that have exited ? (I know 25 of them)

Jewel Burks founder of PartPic asked this question about a month ago.

There were a few replies, including my own, however after a while it was only me dropping names of black and brown founders that have exited…or sold their companies. Now I sincerely doubt I have a definitive list of those exits…however for the past 3 and half years I’ve had the fortunate position as Executive Director of the pre-accelerator @tiphubafrica and my new venture Affiniti VC to meet some of these entrepreneurs and support many founders that I believe will soon join them. Before I share my list of Black & brown exits (Blexits?, Bl/brexits?, B&B exits?..lets see what sticks) I’m going to briefly discuss why it matters.

Why does it matter?

First, I want to be clear being a successful entrepreneur is not measured by whether you’ve sold you company or raised VC funding. It’s a rare occurrence generally among diverse and non-diverse founders. But if you happen to be an entrepreneur chasing angel investors or venture capital, the potential for investors to exit is the key factor to attracting funding. If VC’s were banks they’d only care if you could repay them plus a margin based on your revenue, that ain’t their business model. VC’s and angels make money when you get sold or acquired and rarely from dividends.

Second, there is no shortage of media coverage for the exits of non-diverse founders. VC’s and prominent angel investors pattern match (follow the trend) based upon exits…trying to replicate their success or the success of others. So when one of the most high profile exits of a black founder (Chinedu Echeruo’s sale of HopStop to Apple in 2015) was/is barely known in the VC community, what hope is there?

Third founders have to figure out, quickly, who will be their potential funders or continue to knock on doors that will never open. Black and brown founders that have exited are more likely to be angels, mentors, advisors, and the gateway to investors (remember pattern matching). So, when you walk into your next or first meeting with an investor, be armed with how you will achieve success by generating business revenue first and the exit opportunity you will create, that others like you have done. Know this…it aint easy but college professors, college dropouts, techies and “serial entrepreneurs” have done it…so why not you!


B&B Exits grouped by years (help me make this comprehensive — connect with me via twitter COPE)

2017

Jamarlin Martins — The King of Bossip, aka Media Mogul, aka Yoruba Media Orisha by way of LA sold to Interactive One Digital (not the last time you will see them on this list)

Channing Allen— Sells NY based Indie Hackers to Stripe…who knew a knowledge sharing resource for entrepreneurs is a would be target for a fintech company. (remind your potential investors of outlier acquirers)

Russell Simmons— He’s had many successful business ventures that he’s built and sold, this time he built and sold fintech company RushCard to GreenDot for $147 Million. Sway aint got the answers, but Russell got some explaining to do.

2016

Jewel Burks — The initiator of this list is not just an inquirer she’s built and sold her company PartPic to Amazon’s subsidiary A9.com. I hope to be on the short list of people that she shares her next venture with…we family right?

2015

Rashad Moore — Builds and sells his Software Theoretic Company, a government contractor, to RGS. He’s now an active angel in the Washington DC area.

Muoyo Okome— Repping for the gamers, Muoyo sold his gaming app dev company for without coding a single line (ok maybe one) but not much more. He now has a blog, Daily Spark (syndicated on Huffpost…some folks are blessed)

Kevin Reid — Virtustream co-founder sold for the $1.2Billion with a “B” after turning down one acquisition offer.

Henry Louis Gates Jr — Professor with a prolific online media property exits, sells TheRoot.com to Univision (is that a diverse diverse exit…is that a thing?)

2014

Mac Conwell— Co-founded Given.to acquired in 2014 after being an alum of NewMe Accelerator (shout out to Angela Benton) and Accelerate Baltimore.

Lisa Price— Carol’s Daughter is sold to L’Oreal, whatever some have said of this year’s Nubian Heritage PR fiasco, I for one will be very happy if the company sees a pay day in the near future after taking in money from black and brown angels similar to Carol’s Daughter notable investors, Jay Z & Jada Pinkett & co.

Joe Fernandez — Sells Klout to Lithium Technologies, for $200M…which at the time was considered a so so exit.

Michael Siebel — Closing out this very active year for Blexits, comes this Michael Seibel’s Justin.tv which became Twitch Interactive which then was sold to Amazon in a nine figure deal.

2013

Chinedu Echeruo— The sale of HopStop and its mapping app subsidiary to Apple…New Yorkers will remember the days of standing on the platform guessing when the next train will come or trying their hand/thumb on yellow cabs

Roy Sosa —Sells Netspend, the company that powers prepaid cards sold for $1.4 Billion with a “B”

2012

Michael Siebel— Making his second appearance, Michael sold his SocialCam startups to Autodesk, he now is a partner at legendary startup accelerator, Y Combinator.

2010

Adeyemi Ajao — Built and sold the Spanish Facebook before Facebook was the Social Network

Greg Gunn — Co-founded and sold Wireless Generation to News Corporation

2009

Prof. Isa Odidi & Dr. Amini Odidi — The one and only exit (I know of) is the listing of is the biotech listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and reverse listing on the New York Stock Exchange

Paul Judge — Serial entrepreneur and Atlanta’s Tech Square lab founder sells Purewire to Barracuda Networks

2008

Omar Wasow— Blackplanet sold to Interactive One (when you have a chance reactivate your Blackplanet account…I did and yes it’s lit for various reasons.)

2005

Christian Duffus — Founding CFO of Govolution, government payment system, negotiated the trade sale to First American Payments…his time at Goldman Sach definitely paid off. He now spearheads Leaf College Savings…

Nathalie Molina Niño — Leads BRAVA Investments now, had an early start as a exec at a language translation firm that was acquired.

If you’ve gotten this far I think it’s a good time to discuss the trends. M&A instead of IPO’s.

My thesis is that B&B exits are simply following the broader trend…what are your thoughts?

The rest of the list can be found here:

Look out for Affiniti VC’s list of top investors in diversity (angels and VCs)