Genius Guild Raises $5 Million for New Platform to Support Black-Owned Startup Businesses

By McKenzie Carpenter Monday, April 5, 2021

In a year of devastation for small businesses and political movements, there is a particular focus on uplifting the minority-owned businesses that may not have received the recognition they deserve. Today, Genius Guild, a business creation startup company, announced it raised $5 million to provide solutions for black-owned startup companies and businesses to help end racism and racial inequality.

A business owner putting up 'open' sign on her store door.

About Genius Guild

Genius Guild is a business creation startup that uses a venture studio model of lab, fund, and community to encompass the 360 Value framework for the business. In particular, the company focuses on working toward ending racism and closing the racial inequality gap for Black-owned businesses.

Through the 360 Value model, the Greenhouse Fund is a venture capital fund created by the business that invests between $75,000 and $200,000 for 10% ownership of the Black-owned businesses the company chooses to invest in. The startup’s mission is to invest in companies that provide value for everyone, the community, the business, investors, partners, and more, as a way to address and correct ways in which Black communities have been affected.

In addition to the Greenhouse Fund, the business also has Genius Guild Labs and Genius Guild Studios to create, incubate, innovate, and provide thought-shifting resources to aid Black-owned companies in their fight against societal disadvantages.

Out of Stealth

Today, the company announced its advancement from stealth to introduce the model and purpose of Genius Guild and the $5 million the business raised. According to the press release, the funding comes from several investors including, Pivotal Ventures, the investment firm created by Melinda Gates, Barbara Clarke’s The Impact Seat, First Close Partners, and others.

In the press release, Kathryn Finney, CEO and founder of the startup company, said, “...Black entrepreneurs need more than just lip service - they need true supporters who will go beyond self-serving mentoring and nominal tokens of support. At Genius Guild, we’re challenging our stakeholders to use their money and, equally as important, their voices to call out prejudice and bias in their investment practices. Our partners are committed to enriching the community with sums that match the value of their ventures.”

Crunchbase News reported that with the new funding, the company is hoping to help 30 to 50 Black-owned startup companies and businesses in areas that can help Black communities as a whole over the next three to four years. In addition, Finney stated she expects Genius Guild Labs to help more than 1,000 Black-founded companies.

In a Crunchbase News interview, Finney added that, “We know writing checks will not change the world in itself...But we are offering a real solution. I am confident we can do this.”

Finney’s Genius Guild is just one example of entrepreneurs taking matters into their own hands to combat racial inequalities. According to a study published by Citi, if the racial gap for Black communities had been closed 20 years ago with respect to wages, education, housing, and investment, $16 trillion could have been added to the United States (US) economy.

About the Author

Headshot of McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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