Two Brads and a Jhamia
A Male Founder, a Female Founder and an Investor Have a Conversation.
The following coversations are based on true events. However, the real life names have been redacted and replaced with made up ones for professional reasons.
Founder Brad — White Male Startup Founder
Jhamia — Black Female Startup Founder
Investor Brad — Investor
Founder Brad: Hey Jhamia. I think that’s what your name tag says. I hope I pronounced it right. But thanks for coming to our launch event. We have been in private beta for the past 13 months and are excited to finally launch our product.
Jhamia: Yeah you said it correctly and thanks for having me.
Founder Brad: So you know what we do here right? I’m sure you’ve heard of us before. We were covered in Tech Crunch.
Jhamia: I mean, I don’t know much, you’ve been in private beta for 13 months. When were you featured in Tech Crunch?
Founder Brad: We were featured about a year ago right after we secured our first round of seed funding.
Jhamia: Wait! You were featured in Tech Crunch without having a product released. Wait, wait! You raised a seed round without launching a product or having any traction?
Founder Brad: Yeah. You seemed surprised. But let me tell you what we’ve been building.
Jhamia: Ok, sure
Founder Brad: We have an app that monitors your favorite celebrity whereabouts. We work with the paparazzi and they enter the current location and post pictures and videos of the celebs.*
Jhamia: Oh, I see?
Founder Brad: Yeah, we let our users rank the celebs they want to see the most and we pay paparazzi accordingly.
Jhamia: And people really use this? And how much did you raise for your seed round to build this?
Founder Brad: Well, we sure will see after today right? And close to 1 million. I think it was 850.
Founder Brad: And if you don’t mind me asking — how did you hear about this event? Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat?
Jhamia: No. I came across it on Meetup.com . I thought it would be cool to meet and network with other startup founders in the area.
Founder Brad: Ohh, I forgot we put it on there. You have your own startup? What are you building?
Jhamia: Yeah, its called Blaster. So Facebook and Twitter are the most effective 1 to many social platforms but on average less than 5% of post and tweets are actually seen by friends and followers. It’s because both platforms are too huge! So we thought we can solve the problem of reach by creating a 1 to many platform that focuses on push notification content delivery — and deleting all content after 24 hours to ensure a feed of fresh and updated content while eliminating the noise. Our data shows that our content is seen by over 65% of your friends and followers on Blaster.
Founder Brad: Oh like Snapchat?
Jhamia: No, not reall . . .
Founder Brad: Come over here let me introduce you to our lead angel investor. His name is Brad too. What a coincidence right?
Jhamia: No, not reall . . .
Founder Brad: Hey Brad, this is Jasmine.
Jhamia: It’s Jhamia.
Founder Brad: Yeah. She is working on something similar to Snapchat. I think you both should meet.
Jhamia to Investor Brad: Hey. I’ve know of you. You started the fund with Carl Antonio, the short stop from the Yankees.
Investor Brad: Yeah, here take my contact and send me your deck.
Jhamia: Really? Will do! Thanks so much for the opportunity.
Investor Brad: Yeah
The next day
Jhamia: Hey Brad. Thanks for sharing your contact. I’m texting to confirm that you received the deck and 1 pager I sent last night. Ivy league graduate and this is my 3rd project in the past six years. 3,000 users and 56% of them are active each month and this is all through word of mouth. Don’t have any cash to spend on marketing at this point. Just hustling. Looking to raise 50k that would be used on various growth hacks, mainly on college campuses. We are live on the app store, check us out. I would love to chat more!
Investor Brad: Did I share my phone number with you? I’m sorry but I don’t have time to look at this now. Try me back in two weeks.
Jhamia: Will do! I wish you guys will start investing in more of us under represented minorities! Most of us grew up just like Carl and made it out of the inner cities and we are hoping you guys can change the pattern matching that’s going on in Silicon Valley and in tech in general. We can build billion dollar companies just like everyone else!
Jhamia: But I will message you again in two weeks. Thanks Brad!
Investor Brad: Don’t presume you know what we invest in. And don’t presume you know who we co-invest with. Actually, it’s kind of insulting to hear you tell me you wish we will “start”.
Jhamia: I’m obsessed with you guys. And if you are investing in URM founders, please start letting more people know because it will be so encouraging and may help others see the opportunity there.
Jhamia: And I checked your crunchbase profile and it seems that only %.04 of your investments were in black founders like myself.
Investor Brad: Crunchbase is hardly a research source. I don’t like being public with our investments. Are you hooked into the black VC network?
Jhamia: Black VC network? I’ve spoken with a couple of black partners at VC’s. I’m way too early for VC. I’m only looking to raise 50k. I know you’ve done 50k seed rounds before. Well, again, according to Crunchbase.
Investor Brad: I know of a couple of those guys. They are bright. You should hit them and get advice from them.
Jhamia: Yeah, I tried and I still am trying. I love connecting with as many knowledgable people as I can just for the advice, as you mentioned. I’ve contacted all of those guys on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Investor Brad: No one gives a shit about LinkedIn. Here is my piece of advice. You’ve given me the impression that you have a shit product and you don’t have confidence in your abilities. You are basically telling me that I need to invest in your because you are black.
Jhamia: What? I never said that. I just mentioned the fact that you are investing with Carl, a black sports superstar and only .04% of your investments are in black founders. This isn’t about me. I really think the lack of opportunity that blacks have in tech is a civil rights issue and I’m really passionate about that and it is what motivates me the most.
Investor Brad: If that is the issue you’re passionate about. Maybe you should work on that full time.
Jhamia: But they aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ll build a great tech company while inspiring thousands of kids that grew up like me to believe that there are other ways out. Not everyone can be like Carl growing up where we grow up, you know that right?
Investor Brad: Call up Tristian Walker, who actually already built a great tech company and ask him if he ever made the approach you just did.
Jhamia: The approach? I just mentioned the data that I found on Crunchbase. Sorry if it’s not correct.
Investor Brad: Look I’m just being honest with you! I’m not investing in you simply because you are black so don’t text me saying that I need to do so.
Jhamia: This is no longer about me. I don’t care if you fund me or you fund another smart and hardworking URM founder. We are in dire need of opportunity and I thought since you are investing Carl’s, a black mans money, you could start changing this racist like culture in tech.
Investor Brad: AND YOU FUCKING PRESUME I AM NOT AWARE OR DON’T SUPPORT IT?
Jhamia: If you support it, I think it would be encouraging if you guys shared it with others in your field. Maybe you can change their minds. It would be also encouraging to us because we’ll know we have support.
Investor Brad: What the fuck are you talking about? I have never seen you give time or money to AS Code? Why not?
Jhamia: Have a good day sir. I’m sorry for messaging you!
*Made up product.