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FAMU Foundation invests in ‘Fearless Fund’ venture capital firm supporting women of color

Fearless Fund co-founders, Ayana Parson (standing) and Arian Simone (seated)
Fearless Fund co-founders, Ayana Parson (standing) and Arian Simone (seated)(Fearless Fund)
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 12:34 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida A&M University Foundation announced Tuesday it is investing in the $25 million Fearless Fund, which is the first venture capital fund with a focus on helping women of color build scalable, growth aggressive companies.

Two FAMU alumnae, Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons, are the leaders of the venture capital built by women of color for women of color.

According to a press release from the university, the FAMU Foundation has an investment value of $142 million and an endowment value of $106 million.

“This marks an historic moment in the history of the FAMU Foundation,” says executive director Shawnta Friday-Stroud, Ph.D. “We are charged with investing in and for the future of our great institution. We expect this investment to pay dividends for generations to come.”

This investment marks FAMU’s first in a Black-led VC firm, the release says. The Fearless Fund says it will use the money to grow its ever-expanding portfolio of women of color-led businesses seeking pre-seed, seed level or series A financing.

Paypal, Bank of America, Invest Atlanta and Costco have all recently invested in the Fearless Fund.

“This investment from Florida A&M University is an exciting addition to our fund and furthers our mission to bridge the gap in VC funding for female founders of color,” says Simone. “As an alumnus of Florida A&M University, having them invest in what we are building with the Fearless Fund means all the more to me.”

Both Simone and Parsons, the co-founders of the Fearless Fund, were members of FAMU’s incoming class of 1999.

They say their current goal for the fund is to invest in more than 40 women of color-founded startups in the tech, CPG, beauty and fashion industries.

The following founders and companies are part of the Fearless Fund’s portfolio:

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