Black Tech Nation Ventures is a brand new fund for black entrepreneurs

Kelauni Jasmyn, general partner at the new Black Tech Nation Ventures, can explain her goals for the new company succinctly: “The goal is to finance more black people.”

Jasmyn has already worked on this with Black Tech Nation, a Pittsburgh-based organization that supports black entrepreneurs with education, content, community, and more. Now she’s tackling the funding size of the equation more directly by launching an initial $ 50 million fund with colleagues Sean Sebastian and David Motley.

“We are really at the beginning of something completely new that I think is historic and offers the black community literal economic change in building generational wealth,” said Jasmyn. “We will be the ones to lay the foundations for it.”

Sebastian is a partner at Birchmere Ventures, also a Pittsburgh-based seed fund, while Motley is a co-founder of the BlueTree Venture Fund and the African American Directors Forum. Sebastian also suggested that he and Motley be partially involved in facilitating a “knowledge transfer” that will enable a new generation of black investors, starting with Jasmyn.

Motley, meanwhile, suggested that this was an effort to “take the Black Tech Nation platform and combine it with the Birchmere platform”. He remembered speaking to Jasmyn for the first time at Sebastian’s urging and immediately replied, “Sean, this is the real deal.”

All three BTNV partners emphasized that while the fund has a social mission, it is also focused on financial returns.

“We’re no different from other funds just because you have a certain community around it,” said Jasmyn. “You shouldn’t expect any less valuable returns. We simply have the advantage of having untapped potential. “

The fund will make seed and Series A investments, and Motley said they are focusing on software startups – this could be Software as a Service, B2B, or B2B2C. These ideas can be pre-revenue and even pre-product, but they must be “scalable and capable of generating significant value.”

The story goes on

Sebastian added that while BTVN is based in Pittsburgh, it will look to investing across the country, particularly with entrepreneurs coming from outside of Silicon Valley.

I wondered if the fund’s financial goals could at times be at odds with Black Tech Nation’s broader approach, but the partners countered that the non-profit fund and the non-profit organization can actually complement each other. Motley said Black Tech Nation “gives us more ways to say yes,” while Jasmyn suggested that if the venture fund has to turn someone down, she can still tell them, “Scoot over the street [to Black Tech Nation] and maybe we can repeat that another time. “

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