Design and marketing consultancy R/GA is broadening its Endeavor Studios program with the launch of a brand-new Coalition Endeavor Studio focused specifically on supporting Black-owned and black-led startups.
The initiative is led by R/GA Entrepreneur in House Davyeon Ross, a Black business owner who founded sports analytics company ShotTracker. The startup (which is backed by TechCrunch’s moms and dad company Verizon, specifically Verizon Ventures) became part of R/GA’s Dodgers Accelerator, and Ross associated much of ShotTracker’s success to connections made by the company.
“From that perspective, I got this firsthand view of the power of R/GA Ventures,” Ross told me.
To take part in the Coalition Venture Studio, startups need to be majority Black-owned or have a Black CEO, CTO or board chair. Ross stated that it will not be using a traditional application process, and it won’t be restricted to a handful of startups.
“It’s going not going to be accomplices or batches of companies,” he explained. “The thought process is, it’s an ongoing effort […] A huge piece of this is, it’s not an application procedure, it’s a registration process. Once we deal with R/GA to vet the business, we can begin placing them for projects within the R/GA firm.”
Simply put, assuming a business qualifies, they’ll end up being qualified for 3 main type of assistance through the Union program– creative capital (consulting, design, copywriting and other services ), relationship capital( introductions to what Ross referred to as R/GA’s”network of amazing blue chip clients)and financial capital(which might come from a distribute led by R/GA Ventures ). This launch follows last year’s demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd led to a broader conversation about race and representation in startups and equity capital. Ross stated he’s motivated by that conversation– but at the same time, just 1% of VC money was deployed with Black entrepreneurs last year, and there’s a risk that the industry might proceed without dealing with systemic issues.
“As a society, we tend to be extremely short term,” he said. “We state, ‘‘ Oh my goodness, that occurred,’ and after that we go about our lives […] That’s why I was delighted that R/GA connected to make this dedication. Part of this is about responsibility, part of this is about easy alternatives for folks to get involved, part of this is about storytelling. A lot of business made statements, so this is just offering them with lorries to be able to assist.”
To that end, Coalition has actually currently signed up a variety of partners, consisting of several from the start-up and VC world like Andreessen Horowitz’s TxO Effort, Harlem Capital, Collab Capital, Ohub, Mac Equity Capital and Gingerbread Capital. R/GA’s moms and dad business IPG is likewise a partner, as are the Dodgers and Elysian Park (home to Dodger Stadium).
Eligible start-ups can register on the Coalition website.
Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.