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FAMU Foundation Invests in $25M Fearless Fund Venture Capital Firm to Support Women of Color

The University’s investment will support the Fearless Fund’s mission to address the disparity that exists in venture capital funding for women of color-led businesses.

Ayana Parson (standing) and Arian Simone (seated).
Ayana Parsons (standing) and Arian Simone (seated) / Photo Courtesy

Florida A&M University Foundation on March 9, 2021 announced its investment in the $25 million Fearless Fund, the first venture capital (VC) fund built by women of color, for women of color, and led by two FAMU alumnae, Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons. 

“This marks an historic moment in the history of the FAMU Foundation, which has an investment value of $142 million and endowment value of $106 million. We are charged with investing in and for the future of our great institution. We expect this investment to pay dividends for generations to come,” said Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D., vice president University Advancement and executive director of the FAMU Foundation.

The investment marks FAMU’s first in a Black-led VC firm and will be utilized by the Fearless Fund to grow its ever-expanding portfolio of women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level or series A financing. With this announcement, the University joins other major businesses who recently invested in Fearless Fund, including Paypal, Bank of America, Invest Atlanta, and Costco. 

“This investment from Florida A&M University is an exciting addition to our fund and furthers our mission to bridge the gap in VC funding for female founders of color,” said Arian Simone, general partner and co-founder of the Fearless Fund. Simone and Parsons were members of the incoming class of 1999. “As an alumnus of Florida A&M University, having them invest in what we are building with the Fearless Fund means all the more to me,” Simone added.

The Fearless Fund’s portfolio founders and companies include: Roshawnna Novellus of EnrichHER, Alicia Scott of Range Beauty, Angel Lenise, Montre Moore, and Phyllicia Phillips, J.D. of AMP Beauty, Tracey Pickett of HairBrella, Angela Benton of Streamlytics, and Sheena Allen of Capway. The fund has a goal to invest in over 40 WOC-founded startups in the tech, CPG, beauty and fashion industries.

For more information on Fearless Fund, please visit www.fearless.fund 

Information provided by FAMU Foundation.

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