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Section 1

Fast-Forwarding the Culture

An African Proverb

There's a proverb in all of us.


A Foreword by Andy Davis

Black founders are ready.

We arrive in ‘startupland’ knowing it's going to be really hard.

Knowing that we’ve forever had to work 10x harder, no matter what we’ve done, where we’ve been, or who we are.

Then you’re told that your startup has to be 10x better than anything out there.

It’s a ludicrous expectation.

It’s only right, in that, we are capable of being 10x better.

But we’ve forever had hurdles put in our way and opportunities afforded to others not like us.

But we are changing that. We are understanding our past, adapting our present, and re-writing our futures, today.

I always say, “level the playing field and we will dominate.” We’ve seen this happen in various sectors. Business is next.

Great inventions used everyday such as the gas mark, automatic lift doors, and blood banks were created by black entrepreneurs.

We’re seeing the same thing happen in startups which are breaking through to solve everyday problems, like Calendly, and others being built and exited, like Syft.

Again, with obstacles in the way.

But society and ‘startupland’ is taking a turn and finally embracing black founders.

And not only because it recognises their ability, hard work, ambition, and futures; but also because black founders are not taking “no” for an answer, and are breaking through every glass ceiling.

And that’s with hurdles placed in front of them every single time, at every step, turn, and finish line.

Having spoken with over 1000 black founders, I’ve seen it upfront in very detailed ways.

And I want to share some of their stories and show you why black founders are ready.

Enter The Black Report - the missing piece of the UK startup ecosystem. A long overdue deep dive into 60 pre-seed black founders, covering everything from where they grew up, with whom, their academic backgrounds, their business sectors, how and who funded their businesses, and the racial, sexual and gender makeup of the founders, their teams, and investors.


A Foreword by Anika Henry

To inform and inspire; to provide real insights and perspectives into Black founders and their journey.

For Black founders everywhere, we hope that they can see themselves in the founders in this report and know that there are others like them on a similar path and that they are a part of a group of game-changers.

Inspiring the next generation of Black entrepreneurs is at the heart of this project. We hope that the contents of the report are aspirational and replicated widely, leaving them knowing that they too can become founders.

By offering crucial insights for allies and the startup ecosystem, we hope to educate and provide timely information on how to navigate cultural differences best to form successful partnerships as angel investors, VCs, accelerators, mentors, and customers of Black founders. We all play a role in the success of the early-stage businesses in our community.

We ultimately decide whether these problem-solvers, job creators and economy builders thrive. The Black Report can serve as your guide to better understanding and working with Black founders.

What does success look like?

Double the investment in Black founders in the European ecosystem year-on-year for the next decade.