Over the past few years, fintech (financial technology software, mobile applications, and other technologies created to improve and automate traditional forms of finance) has rapidly become an undeniable part of our daily lives. Fintech is all around, from paperless payment apps like Venmo to mobile banking apps, transit passes, and ticket purchases for Broadway shows. It’s a lucrative industry, but in order for it to become an equitable one, people need access to the education, funding, and opportunities necessary to scale and advance their growth. As the Black community continues to make strides toward sustained financial freedom, it is imperative that we continue to carve out our own lane in this technological renaissance.
The Inspiring Surge of Black-owned Businesses
The rise of Black-owned fintech firms began during the early days of the pandemic when millions of Americans were laid off almost overnight. Small business owners were scrambling for funds from the Paycheck Protection Program to stay afloat. To access money, Black entrepreneurs borrowed from fintech firms and Black-owned banks. The Washington Post reported that fintech firms provided 70% more PPP loans to Black-owned small businesses than banks.
Representation is crucial in inspiring the next generation of Black fintech leaders. When young people see successful Black professionals in influential and leadership roles, it reinforces the belief that their aspirations are achievable. Research shows that companies that embrace diversity “out-innovate and out-perform” others, increasing both existing market share and growth in new markets.
Who to Watch
Black leaders in fintech understand the importance of representation, collaboration, and mentorship. They actively engage in community-building efforts to nurture and uplift emerging talent. By sharing their experiences, knowledge, and guidance, they provide aspiring Black fintech professionals with the support and resources needed to navigate the industry, overcome obstacles, and succeed. As we continue our Juneteenth celebration, let’s look at five rising stars in Black fintech and venture capital.
Collab Capital cofounder Jewel Burkes Solomon says her organization was founded to deploy financial, human, and network capital to assist, grow, and maintain Black-owned creative enterprises. As a proud Howard University alum, Burkes Solomon wants to help Black people achieve economic parity through innovation economy ownership.
Trevor Rozier-Byrd founded Stackwell, an early-stage firm that empowers Black millennials and Gen Z investors to close the racial wealth gap. The app, released in early 2022, uses risk-based portfolios, instructional tools, and behavioral nudges to address Black Americans' underinvestment and unbanking.
"There’s a systemic issue in the fundraising industry that needs to be changed," says Fundr co-founder Lauren Washington. Fundr's algorithm matches startups with investors to streamline fundraising. It streamlines investors finding and deal-closing while fostering long-term founder-investor connections.
After graduating from Morehouse College, Derrius Quarles, Ras Asan, and Brian Williams thought they could create a successful business strategy. In 2016, the founders used $500 of their personal money to start Breaux Capital (pronounced "bro"), an online platform and smartphone app that connects like-minded Millennials nationwide with an automated savings tool and social network. Breaux Capital is an automated savings platform that anyone can access for $9–$19 per year.
Kelly Ifill, a former math teacher, created digital center Guava to addresses the banking wealth gap for Black small company owners. Guava provides fair financial products to help Black small businesses gain funding. Guava offers Black entrepreneurs lower-barrier loans that employ alternate data sets to evaluate risk.