Venture capital firm Black Seed has closed £5m for its first fund to invest in Black British tech founders.
Based in Brixton, London, the investor is targeting a final close of £10m and will make early-stage investments into tech startups run by Black entrepreneurs.
Karl Lokko, chairman and co-founder of Black Seed, said: “Black Seed is a venture capital firm, created to finance the pioneering Black entrepreneurs of today to build the businesses our world needs for tomorrow – if only they’re given a shot.”
M&G Investments led the investment into Black Seed’s funding round, with further capital coming from Atomico, LocalGlobe, Molten Ventures and WestRiver Group.
Support also came from angels including Sam Branson, Dorothy Chou, Bruce Molyneux and Lord Mervyn Davies.
As well as investing, Black Seed will run community events for UK Black founders and entrepreneurs. Partners include Google-owned AI company DeepMind.
“Black Seed represents an exciting new generation of fund managers working to create a fairer and more representative venture capital ecosystem,” said Jonathan Sibilia, partner at Molten Ventures.
Karl Lokko, Cyril Lutterodt and Yvonne Nagawa created the fund in 2021. Lokko used to be a gang leader before becoming a poet and business activist. After experiencing his own difficulties in pitching for venture capital funding Lutterodt decided to start his own firm.
“We know Black founders are over-mentored and underfunded,” said Cyril Lutterodt, managing director and co-founder of Black Seed.
“We know because we’ve lived it. We’re building a pipeline of black entrepreneurs, primed and ready to deal with the big challenges facing the world.”