Harlem Capital Closes $40M Fund To Back Diverse Founders

To work toward its goal of investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years, Harlem Capital has closed a $40 million debut fund. Harlem Capital was initially targeting $25 million for the first, early-stage focused fund, but after 18 months of fundraising, landed an oversubscribed close.

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The New York-based fund, which mainly invests checks between $250,000 and $1 million, was founded by  Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle in 2015, but launched officially in June 2018.

To date, Harlem Capital has invested in eight companies through Fund I, from Aunt Flow, a Columbus, Ohio-based company that produces organic cotton menstrual products, to Wagmo, a dog wellness plan upstart. It plans to make 30 investments out of this vehicle, and span the country while doing so (current portfolio companies are all over, in Boston, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Baltimore, and San Diego).

Harlem Capital plays around in the seed and early stage space, and considers itself “industry agnostic.” However, per its website, the firm says it doesn’t generally invest in cannabis, biotech, hardware, or crypto. In other words, “capital intensive businesses.”

Now let’s go back to its broad mission statement: 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. I chatted with the partners over at Harlem to learn more about what this means, and how they’re going to do it.

A Defined Network

Jarrid Tingle, a managing partner and co-founder of Harlem Capital, said the firm defines diversity “as women of any race and people of color, so think Black, Latinx, Native American, any people who have been limited.”

He continued that Harlem Capital fields about 50 percent of its deals through direct emails. A quick look at the firm’s website explains why: the “Investment Criteria” tab outline the seven key things a company needs to get a check, from a base revenue of $100,000 to at least one full time founder….

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