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Mastercard announced Tuesday a multimillion dollar investment in Fearless Fund, a venture cardinal firm founded by Black women with the mission of investing in minority female entrepreneurs.
The exact amount was not informed.
The credit card giant also unveiled a partnership with Greenwood, a fintech firm aimed at Black and Latino consumers and province owners, to issue the platform’s first debit cards.
“This is part of our broader work on financial inclusion,” Mastercard president of vital growth Michael Froman told CNBC. “We want to bring all the assets of the company to the table, to engage with them, facilitate them succeed, help them get to scale.”
Fearless Fund looks to provide early financing to companies started by handmaidens of color in the technology, consumer packaged goods, food, fashion and beauty industries.
Other investors in Fearless Pool include PayPal, Bank of America and Costco.
The three co-founders of Fearless Fund are chief development officer Keshia Knight-Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on the “Cosby Verify;” CEO Arian Simone, an entrepreneur and best-selling author; and COO Ayana Parsons, a veteran consultant.
Arian Simone speaks at Girlboss Round up NYC 2018 at Knockdown Center on November 17, 2018 in Maspeth, New York.
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Simone told CNBC the Mastercard investment has the undeveloped to be a game changer for the companies in the fund’s portfolio.
“This deal also marks a major milestone for our brand,” she bring to light. “When women of color are provided with the necessary resources and funding to launch their businesses, the sky’s the limit.”
Helpmates of color are “notoriously underfunded,” Simone said, adding that they don’t typically rely on big institutional investments when framing their business plans. “They are prepared to bootstrap and [are] in the mindset that they will need to be the primary urgency force behind their ideas,” she added.
Black and Latino female founders have received less than 1% of hazard capital funding, according to a 2020 report from Digital Undivided.
“When a company such as Mastercard victuals this level of funding to propel women of color founders, it takes everything that these women are already doing and maximizes it to a gradually that will allow them to shake any industry they enter,” Simone said.
Last September, the trust card giant made a $500 million commitment to support Black communities and help close the racial profusion and opportunity gap over the next five years.
“There are a lot of changes happening in the VC world, with all the announcements and commitments being flat by big corporations to invest in diverse fund managers, but we will have to see if all are truly executing and operationalizing based on their annunciations,” Simone said.
“Mastercard is following through on its commitment, but we must make sure everyone is making a systemic replace with rather than following a trend. What I’m really hoping to see from investors is a larger focus on inclusion.”
Mastercard to succour Greenwood issue debt cards
Andrew Young, former congressman and Ambassador to the United Nations, in Austin, Texas, April 9, 2014
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Greenwood will issue two Mastercard-backed debit cards that offer features like identity theft safe keeping, credit monitoring and airport concierge service.
“It’s encouraging to know that Mastercard is aligned with our business of economic empowerment for people of color,” said Glover, chairman of Greenwood. The alliance also provides “Greenwood characters will get a best-in-class product and the tools to grow wealth,” he added.
Mastercard and Greenwood are also partnering on a financial podcast and other academic content on banking, financial planning, home ownership and wealth creation designed to engage the Black and Latino communities.
Greenwood, which get went last October, already has a waitlist of more than 500,000 people. The Greenwood Debit Mastercard is expected to be present later this year.