The first self-made Black female millionaire

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C.J. Walker, the first child of her family born into freedom and orphaned at age 7, persevered and beat the odds to become the first female self-made millionaire in America.
In the early 1900s, Walker created her own line of hair products and cosmetics. They were wildly popular in the Black community, which had been ignored even by other Black hair care entrepreneurs. She opened training programs in the “Walker System,” empowering the Black women who made up her national sales network to achieve financial independence.
After succeeding in business, C.J. Walker invested in prime New York real estate, became a philanthropist, and continually inspired others to take the entrepreneurial path.
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity. Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”
–Madam C.J. Walker
America has come a long way since the 1900s. Yet the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, red-lining, and the War on Drugs has left us with tremendous equity gaps. These gaps are especially visible in the investment world.
Today, less than 1% of all venture capital investment goes to Black founders. VC is largely a network-driven business, so founders need “warm introductions” to meet investors. Without direct access into these old networks, Black entrepreneurs are often still cut off from the capital they need to succeed.
This needs to change. At Republic, we give you the power to invest in the people and ideas you believe in, ones that are representative of the true diversity of our world. Invest in the future you believe in, instead of a status quo bound by the past.
You don’t have to know someone to get listed on Republic. You just need a great idea and the drive to make it real. We welcome all founders—especially those who are traditionally underserved by the legacy startup funding ecosystem.
Today, we’re highlighting the Black-founded live deals on Republic and NextSeed.
Backstage Capital (SOLD OUT)
Arlan Hamilton’s Backstage Capital is an investment adviser focused on people of color, women and LGBTQ+ founders. Backstage has invested in 160 underrepresented founders so far. This groundbreaking deal sold out in just 9 hours! If you missed out this time, join the waitlist to be notified when it reopens.

Salone Monet (open for investment)

Salone Monet’s eponymous company makes nude heels for all skin colors. They dye each pair of shoes to match the customer’s skin tone exactly. Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, and Halle Berry are all fans of her color-inclusive shoes. Salone Monet is going after a $4.3B market.

BAOBAB Clothing (open for investment)
BAOBAB makes the perfect, durable, sustainably-produced polo shirt and delivers the best possible shopping experience. Founders Brandon Davenport & Marcellus Alexander III have built a loyal following, with a 35% customer repurchase rate and 87% ordering more than one shirt.

COI Energy (open for investment)
COI Energy has built an energy management platform that eliminates wasted electricity and passes the savings on to users. Founder SaLisa Berrien has over 25 years of experience in the $92 billion industry she’s set out to disrupt. Read our interview with Salisa about her journey and vision for COI Energy.

Audios (open for investment)
Audios makes professional grade wireless speakers that save hours on setup time and thousands on cable replacement costs. Founder and engineer Erik Young’s patented system can connect up to 16 speakers, 100 feet from each other, without Bluetooth or a WiFi router. Investors include Charles Huang, Co-Creator of Guitar Hero, and Andy Rachleff, Co-Founder of Benchmark & CEO Wealthfront. Read our interview with Erik here.

Chopped & Screwed: The Final Mixtape (open for investment on Nextseed)
Chopped & Screwed is a documentary film project providing a first-hand account of legendary hip-hop icon DJ Screw. Features never-before-seen footage provided by the family and estate of DJ Screw. Produced by a multiple award winning team with Emmy and Peabody Awards on the shelf. Directed by Multi-platinum music producer and songwriter Isaac Yowman.

P.S. In our industry spotlight newsletter last week, we forgot to mention three DTC companies currently raising on Republic. Here they are:
• Upchoose’s first product is a subscription service for organic baby clothes. More than 750 customers. 10X growth in MRR over 5 quarters.
• Lil Bucks makes superfood snacks from sprouted buckwheat. Quadrupled revenue from 2019 to 2020.
• Choose Health offers simple, affordable, at-home health testing. 350+ DTC subscribers.

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