Black Entrepreneurs Support Startup Founders Overlooked by Silicon Valley



TXV Partners was founded by Marcus Stroud and Brandon Allen in Texas. The venture capital firm is headed by black people in a field dominated by white men. According to data from Richard Kerbt, a partner at Equal Ventures, 81 percent of VC first have no black investors.

Furthermore, nearly half of the black investors in the business are at the associate or lowest level of the company, with only 2% of VC partners being black. This troubling statistics compelled Stroud and Brandon to pursue venture capital.

Allen grew up in New England, but Stroud was raised in Prosper, Texas, a small town outside of Dallas. These founders catapulted TXV to success by relying on their own savings and hard work.

“African Americans aren’t that well represented on either side of the table as an investor or a startup founder,” Stroud said. “I think, if anything, that doesn’t discourage us, it just makes us feel proud and empowered that we have an opportunity to help cultivate a fund that is majority minority-led. It’s something that fires me up.”

The duo first met at Princeton University and later discovered their goals aligned; both wanted to be venture capitalists and provide funding to firms overlooked by Silicon Valley.

“We were at a lecture and there were a couple of VCs on campus speaking,” Stroud told TechCrunch. “Being a kid from a small town in Texas, Princeton was already a huge culture shock, but hearing about a world of VC, investment banking, and private equity just really intrigued me.”

Stroud worked at Wall Street as a fixed-income analyst before moving to Austin to become an alternative asset manager at Vida Capital. Allen, on the other hand, worked as a consultant for two years before the two joined forces.

The business partners run the company from two offices; one in Dallas and the other in Austin.

“We wanted to be part of the next great VC hub,” Allen told TechCrunch. “We felt like it made sense and we felt comfortable in Texas. The thought of moving to San Francisco was out of reach for us. Texas has the opportunity to be at the forefront of what the next generation of technology will look like.”

He added: “We’re young, Black, and in Texas. We’re trying to do it differently. We wanted to really see if we can redefine the VC model from the bottom up. It’s important for Texans, for African Americans, and for millennials.”

Since founding TXV Partners, the duo has invested more than $20 million into startups, including Future Fit, Data.World, Oura, Future, Kambr, and Trax, according to Forbes.

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