Best Buy invests millions in Brown Venture Group, a firm that exclusively supports the founders of BIPOC – TechCrunch

Last summer, following the murder of George Floyd, Best Buy pledged to “do betterWhen it came to supporting communities of color. As part of the retail giant’s self-proclaimed mission to better address underrepresentation and technology inequalities, the company announced today that it is investing up to $ 10 million in Brown Venture Group.

Minnesota-based Brown Venture Group is a three-year venture capital firm that is committed to exclusively supporting Black, Latino and Indian tech startups in “emerging technologies.” Black and Latino communities were the recipients of only 2.6% of total funding in 2020, according to data from Crunchbase.

Brown Venture Group is in the process of raising funds for its Inaugural Targeted Fund of $ 50 million, 75% of which has been committed, according to its principles. This means that Minneapolis-based Best Buy’s commitment to invest “up to $ 10 million” could represent up to 20% of the total capital raised, making it a leading LP in the fund.

Brown Venture Group co-founder and managing partner Dr. Paul Campbell said that in the early days of the company’s formation, he and co-founder Dr. Chris Brooks were told by “various people at the local level” that they were to leave the Twin Cities metropolitan area. because “all the capital was on the coasts.”

“We just made a firm decision in the early stages to stay in the Twin Cities and we wanted this to be a Twin Cities story,” Campbell told TechCrunch. “So when we thought about our Twin Cities ecosystem and who we wanted to be lead partners with, Best Buy was at the top of the list. So we are beyond excited to have Best Buy as the leading LP in our fund. ”

For its part, Best Buy, which made $ 47 billion in revenue last year, he said the move aims to help “break down the systemic barriers that Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) entrepreneurs often face, including lack of access to finance, and empower the next generation within the technology industry.

The company added: “The partnership with Brown Venture Group will work to make the landscape for tech startups more inclusive and create a stronger community of diverse vendors.”

In conjunction with Best Buy’s announcement of commitment to the fund, the company and the venture firm said they would jointly launch an entrepreneurship program at Best Buy Teen Tech Centers to help develop young entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, networking and access to funding.

Brown Venture Group, whose name was chosen to represent an “inclusive” skin color of the groups it represents, has so far invested in five companies, including the clean energy startup. Equation kwh.

Ten million dollars seems like a drop in the bucket for a company that generated sales of $ 47 billion last year. Best Buy said this initiative is just one of several it has in place to support BIPOC businesses, including plans to provide $ 44 million to expand college readiness and career opportunities for BIPOC students and a commitment to spend at least $ 1.2 billion with BIPOC and various companies by 2025. The company has also said that by 2025 it will fill one of three new non-hourly corporate positions with BIPOC employees and hire 1,000 new employees to its technology team, with 30% of them diverse, specifically black, Latino, indigenous and women.

“We are committed to taking meaningful action to address the challenges facing BIPOC entrepreneurs,” Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said in a written statement. “Through partnerships like this, we believe we can begin to do this by helping build a stronger and more vibrant community of diverse innovators in the technology industry, some of whom we hope will become Best Buy partners in the future.” .

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