M&A / FundingPayments

Mastercard pours millions into Fearless Fund, ‘built by women of color for women of color’

Mastercard has also invested in over a dozen founders of diverse backgrounds, according to Crunchbase data

Mastercard has announced a multi-million dollar investment in a venture capital fund that’s “built by women of color for women of color.” 

The VC fund is called Fearless Fund and Mastercard’s investment aims to further access to funding for Black women, according to the news release. The investment will also propel Fearless Fund to grow its portfolio of women of color founded and co-founded companies in various industries spanning from technology, CPG, food and beverage, beauty and fashion. 

Mastercard also said that this investment will have a social impact in creating jobs and will have a role in wealth distribution in disadvantaged communities.

Michael Froman, president of strategic growth, Mastercard, said in a statement that the investment gaps in women-founded companies, especially for Women of Color, holds the entire population back. 

“The need to narrow this gender and racial disparity is critical in driving forward innovation and fueling inclusive, sustained economic recovery across our country,” Froman said in the statement. “We are investing in Fearless Fund and partnering to bring innovative programs to market to help Black women founders get access to the capital and resources they need to achieve their full potential.”

Mastercard also introduced its Strivers Initiative earlier this year that focuses on elevating Black female business owners to sustain and expand their businesses while encouraging customers and business to shop, share and support them. The company also announced last year a half-billion dollar commitment to support Black communities in the U.S. over the next five years.

Mastercard is also Greenwood’s network of choice for its first debit card, according to a news release. Greenwood is an online banking platform aimed at the Black and Latino community and business owners. 

Breaking down Mastercard’s investments  

Only 3% of people leading investments at VC firms are Black, Mastercard says citing the National Venture Capital Association. But how much has Mastercard and its associated entities invested in women-founded businesses and companies founded by people of color? 

FinLedger broke it down using Crunchbase data. Here are the major takeaways:

  • Of the 91 companies Mastercard has invested in with known dollar amounts, 13 were founded by people of color and/or women.
  • The funding rounds that Mastercard participated in with these companies totaled about $814 million. Of the 13 companies, 60% are early-stage companies.  

The companies highlighted below are only included if the company is active and the founders are known and currently participating in the company’s day-to-day activities.

Flutterwave

Flutterwave provides payments infrastructure for financial institutions and companies 

Ellevest

Consumer fintech company Ellevest is focused on closing the gender wealth gap.

Greenwood Bank

The bank describes itself as “the first digital banking platform for Black and Latinx people and business owners.”

Goalsetter

This company aims to help kids save money through its savings platform.

DefinedCrowd

DefinedCrowd provides training data and infrastructure of solutions for AI to make datasets for clients.

Kasisto

Kasisto is a conversational AI-focused fintech.

Alloy

This company has built an identity operating system for the financial services industry.

Enveil

This company protects data in use by using “homomorphic encryption-powered” solutions.

  • Last investment round: $10 million
  • Founders: Ellison Anne Williams

MoCaFi

A platform that aims to help the underbanked with digital banking, credit building along with personal wealth coaching.

  • Last investment round: Corporate round, amount not disclosed
  • Founder: Wole Coaxum

Pay By Group

This company aims to simplify splitting the cost of a purchase online by offering a checkout option that integrates with companies websites to offer just that.

Vendedy

This company provides a mobile networking connecting local street market foods and products to customers.

In other Mastercard news, Mastercard intends to buy identity verification company Ekata, its 6th known acquisition to exceed a $100M purchase price.

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