According to the 2017 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, investments into venture-backed companies were higher than they have been in the past decade. Last year 5,948 investment deals were made, totaling a record-setting $61.4 billion dollars. Yes, 2017 was a momentous year for companies like WeWork who received a $3 billion-dollar infusion of venture capital. Although there are billions of dollars being distributed every year, studies show that less than 1% of VC-funded startup founders are black. There are tons of "pre-accelerators" to teach underrepresented founders about startups, business models and introduce them to other several topics. Most of these pre-accelerators are corporate sponsored programs with plenty of funding for the actual programs but little to none of that funding go towards the founders.
Co-founders Troy Wilson and Eldredge Washington believe that their new app, Invesu, is the solution to the extreme lack of funding available for black-owned businesses. Invesu is a community investment fund for black founders. Their mission is to provide capital for deserving black founders who are disrupting their industries by leveraging the everyday purchases of conscious consumers. It is no secret that black Americans currently have a buying power of $1.3 trillion dollars. Unfortunately, that money has failed to circulate back into the black community until now.
The Invesu app enables its users to collectively create a fund in two ways. The first method automatically rounds up users’ everyday transactions to the nearest dollar. The second allows its users to earn cash back for the fund by shopping with specific retail partners including restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, car rental companies, and more. Invesu empowers its users with the ability to vote which companies in our community receive investment from the fund. The voting process can be simply described as “Shark Tank” in your hand.
By merging the African and Caribbean practices of the susu, (an informal means of collecting and saving money through partnerships) with technology, Troy and Eldredge believe that we are now able to give black entrepreneurs access to funding that they may have never received. In turn, allowing the businesses to flourish, become profitable and provide opportunities for the community. And that’s just the beginning of what the power of our spending and Invesu can do!
Ultimately, Invesu envisions a world where all black founders have the access to funding fueled by the power of black economics.