Venture Capital Showdown: Black-Owned VC Firm Fights to Help Women of Color Start-Up Businesses

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FILE - Ayana Parsons, right, and Arian Simone, of Fearless Fund, attend a news conference, Aug. 10, 2023, in New York. The venture capital firm that has backed buzzy new companies like restaurant chain Slutty Vegan and beauty brand Live Tinted has become symbolic of the fight over corporate diversity policies since becoming a target of a lawsuit over a grant program for Black women. But the Fearless Fund is a tiny player in the approximately $200 billion global venture capital market. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
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The first woman of color owned venture capital firm, Fearless Fund, is stepping into Miami Federal Appeals Court Wednesday. Their mission? To challenge a court order stopping them from giving grants exclusively to women of color.

This legal tussle pits Fearless Fund against the American Alliance for Equal Rights, an organization led by far-right activist Edward Bloom.

File – Edward Blum, founder of the American Alliance for Equal Rights, speaks at a news conference in Washington, June 29, 2023. Blum’s nonprofit filed a lawsuit against the Fearless Fund, a small venture capital firm. The case is one of a growing number legal challenges to corporate diversity programs. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Arian Simone, the co-founder and CEO of Fearless Fund, says they aren’t backing down. In August of 2022, Bloom sued Fearless Fund over their grant program, saying that they were practicing reverse discrimination by excluding non-Black applicants. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta responded by hitting pause on the program until the lawsuit’s conclusion.

But this isn’t just about this program. Many Black business leaders are worried that these legal challenges could roll back years of efforts to level the playing field.


Click play to listen to the report from AURN White House Correspondent Ebony McMorris. For more news, follow @E_N_McMorris & @aurnonline.

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