In 2018, Adeyemi Ajao co-founded Base10 Partners to find and invest in the best entrepreneurs all over the world. The Black-led venture-capital firm based in San Francisco uses a data-driven approach to invest in automation tech across sectors such as food and retail, according to Forbes.
“There are way too many companies out there,” Ajao told Forbes. “By our calculations, there are 110 new deals per day that our VCs have to look at, so we have to find a way to focus and filter that.”
The firm has therefore built an automated software tool to “track startups in real-time with a set of predictive data points; the 64 investments Base10 has made represent 0.4% of the more than 15,000 companies that it follows,” Forbes said.
Base10 recently raised a $460 million fund for early-stage investments, bringing the company’s total assets under management to $1.3 billion. This also made the company the first Black-led firm to cross $1 billion in assets, according to the Insider.
The Insider noted that the increase in the company’s assets was due to the fact that more limited partners are now supporting VC firms led by investors from underrepresented backgrounds. This comes on the back of the 2020 murder of George Floyd, which heightened calls for racial equality.
Base10’s $137 million debut fund in 2018 was the largest debut for a Black-led venture capital firm, TechCrunch reported at the time. Ajao was surprised when the news reached him from his company’s limited partners.
“Oh man, I was like, ‘yeah, I know I’m black, but so what?’” Ajao told TechCrunch in 2018. “I can be a little bit naive about these things until they become extremely apparent.”
Ajao is a Nigerian but also grew up in Spain before relocating to San Francisco, America. He told TechCrunch that he was forced to confront inequality and being Black in America. He was not used to that growing up.
Currently, about 60% of his company’s investments have gone to minority founders although Base10 is not essentially a minority-focused firm. It has made efforts to improve funding for Black people to access tech and entrepreneurship. The firm donates 1% of profits to causes supporting diversity, according to Forbes.