Mar 24, 2021 - Technology

Bevy adds Black investors to cap table as part of $40 million funding round

Illustration of quarter pattern with one penny

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Event software business Bevy raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Accel at a $325 million valuation, and says that 20% of the capital came from Black investors.

Why it matters: The company is the latest to diversify who gets to share in the upside of a startup — typically it's white men, while others have historically been shut out of deals.

Details: Other participating investors include LinkedIn, PayPal's Peggy Alford, former Beats by Dre executive Omar Johnson and retired Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson.

  • 70% of individuals participating in the funding round are Black.

What they're saying: "Where is the wealth being created? It's being created in tech and Silicon Valley, where we haven't been able to play," James Lowry, who was the first Black consultant at McKinsey and participated in Bevy's funding round, told Axios.

The big picture: In the wake of George Floyd's murder that sparked a reckoning over systemic racism last year, some venture capital firms committed to including "diversity riders" in investment agreements.

  • Fintech startup Finix said 10% of its latest funding round came from underrepresented investors, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reported last month. It plans to do this in every funding round going forward.

Between the lines: Bevy set a previously unpublicized goal last year for Black employees to make up 20% of its workforce by this September.

  • Currently 14% of its workforce is Black — up from 0% a year ago, Bevy CEO Derek Andersen told Axios.

By the numbers: Startups with a more diverse employee base mean a liquidity event won't just put money in white workers' pockets. Black workers can share in the wealth.

  • Black and Hispanic startup employees hold significantly less equity wealth than white workers, according to a recent survey by Carta.
  • Black workers surveyed were the least likely out of all groups to work as engineers — a type of role that typically sees higher equity grants, per Carta.
  • Black and Hispanic respondents also held disproportionately fewer executive roles than white workers.

The bottom line: "If you want to have a diverse organization — to think that it's only with the workforce, that's silly. You have to think about who's actually sitting on the board and who is an investor and owner of this business," said Upfront Ventures general partner Kobie Fuller, who participated in the round alongside the firm.

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