Return on Inclusion | October 31, 2022

Collide Capital raises $66 million to back early-stage diverse founders

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, October 31 — New York-based Collide Capital has raised $66 million to invest in early-stage Black, Latino and female founders “we believe are best positioned to solve the next generation of global problems,” Collide Capital’s Brian Hollins told ImpactAlpha.

The firm will look for founders who are developing solutions to issues that are closest to them since “traditionally, the money hasn’t always flowed to the person most capable or the person most excited about solving the problem,” Hollins said. 

Collide Capital will invest in up to 50 startups with fintech, supply chain infrastructure and the future of work solutions. The fund will write average check sizes of $750,000 in the pre-seed to Series A rounds. 

A pair of Black entrepreneurs, investors and now first-time fund managers, Hollins and his cofounder Aaron Samuels, launched the venture capital firm in 2019 after meeting at a conference in 2016. Samuels at the time was working on AfroTech, a tech investing and wealth-building platform for Black entrepreneurs. Hollins was helping build BLCK VC, a community nonprofit organization for Black venture investors. 

“Often times, we were providing a bridge or helping coach and advise founders that were about to go out to market to try to raise capital,” said Hollins. “Now, instead of making an introduction to venture partners like Sequoia or Lightspeed, we can invest first and then make the introduction to prepare founders for that journey.”

Corporate impact

The Collide Capital fund received more than 20% of its total commitments from tech giants Twitter, Amazon and Alphabet. Alphabet invested via CapitalG, its independent growth equity fund; Amazon invested through its recently-launched catalytic capital initiative, which is looking to invest an initial $150 million to support more than 200 early-stage startups led by Black, Latino, Indigenous, women and LGBTQIA+ founders.

Other investors in the fund include the University of California Endowment, Bank of America, Citi, Northwestern Mutual, Bain Capital, Insight Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Impact footprint

Samuels and Hollins bring “a demonstrable track record of funding diverse and women-led teams,” said Twitter’s Jon Chen. Since its inception, Collide Capital has backed 43 ventures, more than 80% of which are led by Black, Latino or female founders.

Black, Latino and female founders received a little over 5% of total U.S. venture capital deployed last year. 

Collide Capital in its early days raised $1.3 million to prove out its thesis and build a track record before going out to raise a larger fund from investors. Collide Capital has exited three of its 34 investments in portfolio companies to date.

The firm’s current portfolio includes Chicago-based decarbonization tech startup Rheaply and San Francisco-based SMBX, which is enabling retail investors to help finance for small businesses.