Major corporations are truly giving HBCU students the spotlight they deserve.
Tech Crunch reports that venture capital firm Nex Cubed and Costco Wholesale have launched The HBCU Founders Fund, are looking to invest $40 million in startups founded by at least one HBCU student, alumni or faculty member.
Previously, Nex Cubed launched a pre-accelerator program at different HBCUs to help rising entrepreneurs find resources to scale their startups. With the program’s success, the VC firm decided to continue the work as a 501(c) and began partnering with companies like AT&T, Mastercard, and Verizon to expand to more than 70 HBCUs.
Nex Cubed CEO Marlon Evans told The Plug he wants business owners “to make sure when they leave our program that they’re in that place to go out and raise that next significant round of capital, a million-plus round.”
According to Impact Alpha, Nex Cubed will use $5 million from Costco to launch a four-month accelerator program, potentially split into two parts. No more than 10 companies will be selected in the spring to participate in the fintech, digital health, property tech and edtech fields. If all goes well with funding, a second cohort will be introduced in the fall.
Evans said his goal is to raise a $40 million fund by the end of 2023 or early 2024. The main target is helping the schools and not just the entrepreneurs who are students.
“We would love to have the endowments at some of these HBCUs serve as limited partners]in the fund,” Evans said, according to The Plug. “That would be the ultimate goal because then all of the money stays really in the community. So when the fund wins, it goes back to the institutions which then goes back to support the schools, the students.”
Applications for the cohort are currently open on Nex Cubed’s website; the deadline is March 10.