Shani Dowell persisted. She’s the founder of Possip, short for “positive gossip,” a platform that helps schools gain real-time feedback from parents on topics like bullying and school culture. And, like many Black women entrepreneurs, she encountered a fundraising wall early on.
“When I originally would go out and pitch Possip to people, especially to typically wealthier men, they sometimes didn’t understand the problem, and part of why they potentially didn’t see the problem is because they may not have ever had the experience of not feeling entitled and empowered to share their voice or share their opinions,” Dowell told CNN Business.
But finding an institutional investor led by a female CEO put the startup on track for success. Now Dowell is a member of the “million dollar club” of Black women who each raised more than $1 million for their businesses.
That club remains small although its size is increasing, according to the study ProjectDiane commissioned by DigitalUndivided. “Businesses founded by women of color are in focus now, specifically those founded by Black women because of the racial reckoning,” CEO Lauren Maillian, who co-hosted Urban Tech Connect this year, told CNN. “But we need to make sure that they continue to gain great investment.”
For our regular curation of must-read innovation and tech news, the Plug In South LA Beat, we’re meeting the Black women who smashed fundraising barriers — and seeing how they did it:
Photo: Shani Dowell, founder of Possip. Credit: Possip