Home Uncategorized Meet the 8 Black and Latina female founders whose startups have reached...

Meet the 8 Black and Latina female founders whose startups have reached a $1 billion valuation or higher


By Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins
First published Mar 9, 2023

A report found nine Black and Latina female founders have reached a $1 billion or higher valuation.
Among these entrepreneurs are Rihanna, Jessica Alba, and the makeup artist Pat McGrath.

Here are eight of the nine women who’ve reached unicorn status.

Though Black and Latina women raised more than 1% of all venture-capital funding in 2021, that number fell in 2022 when VC investments dropped overall due to economic concerns, a recent report on the state of underrepresented women entrepreneurs found.

These founders face increased challenges getting funded because VC firms have historically excluded and overlooked them.

The biennial report, which Project Diane and the organization DigitalUndivided released Wednesday, compiled data from more than 750 Latina and Black female founders who have received outside funding. These companies received 0.85% of all venture capital in 2022, making it the second-biggest year for this cohort.

The report also found that there are now more than 350 Black and Latina female founders who have raised at least $1 million in funding, and at least nine Black and Latina female founders have reached a $1 billion valuation.

Here are eight Black and Latina female founders who have achieved this feat, in order of the highest current valuation. Each company on this list has at one point achieved a $1 billion valuation, but some have lost that value over time.

Toyin Ajayi, Cityblock Health — $5.7 billion
Toyin Ajayi, the cofounder and CEO of Cityblock Health.

Last valuation: $5.7 billion

Ajayi cofounded Cityblock Health with Iyah Romm in 2017. The company provides healthcare services such as annual checkups and therapy with an emphasis on serving marginalized communities.

Cityblock Health first achieved unicorn status in December 2020 through a $160 million Series C funding round. In September 2021, it closed a $400 million Series D that SoftBank led, which boosted the company’s valuation to $5.7 billion. To date, the company has raised almost $900 million in funding.

Ajayi became the CEO of the company in March 2022.

Flori Marquez, BlockFi — $3 billion
Flori Marquez, a cofounder and the COO of the crypto-finance firm BlockFi. BlockFi
Last valuation: $3 billion

Marquez cofounded the crypto-lending platform BlockFi in 2017 with Zac Prince. Marquez serves as the company’s COO.

In 2021, the company announced a $350 million Series D funding round that valued the firm at $3 billion, TechCrunch reported. In total, the company has raised $956 million in venture funding, according to a report from the VC fund Harlem Capital and Crunchbase.

In 2021, the company was preparing for an IPO, Forbes reported. In 2022, reports surfaced that the company was raising more funding at a $4.5 billion valuation. However, BlockFi filed for bankruptcy in November 2022 after it took a $250 million loan from the disgraced crypto exchange FTX, Insider reported.

Julia Collins, Zume Pizza — between $2.25 billion and $1 billion

Julia Collins is a cofounder of Zume Pizza. Steve Jennings/Stringer/Getty
Last valuation: Between $2.25 billion and $1 billion

Collins cofounded the robotics startup Zume Pizza in 2015 with Alex Garden. The company created robots that could make and deliver pizza.

Zume Pizza first achieved unicorn status in 2018 when SoftBank invested $375 million into the startup and reports valued the company at between $2.25 billion and $1 billion.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Collins exited the company in 2018 and has since founded two more companies, Planet FWD and Moonshot Snacks.

In January 2020, Zume permanently shuttered the robotics division of its company and laid off about 360 employees, Insider reported. According to its website, the company has shifted to developing products that replace single-use plastic.

Iman Abuzeid, Incredible Health — $1.65 billion
Iman Abuzeid, a cofounder and the CEO of Incredible Health. Incredible Health
Latest valuation: $1.65 billion

Abuzeid is a cofounder and the CEO of Incredible Health, which she launched in 2017 with Rome Portlock. The startup connects nurses and medical professionals with jobs at hospitals.

In 2022, Incredible Health announced an $80 million Series B funding round, which gave the company a $1.65 billion valuation, Fortune reported. In total, the startup has raised $97.3 million in funding, according to the Harlem Capital and Crunchbase report.

Rihanna, Savage X Fenty — $1 billion

Rihanna is the founder of Savage X Fenty. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Last valuation: $1 billion

In 2018, Rihanna founded her e-commece lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, which sells lingerie, loungewear, and activewear.

Savage X Fenty achieved unicorn status in February 2021, when it raised a $115 million Series B round. In January 2022, the company raised a $125 million Series C funding round, but its valuation wasn’t disclosed. In total, the company has raised $310 million in funding, according to Forbes.

Rihanna is exploring a possible IPO, which could value her company at $3 billion, Bloomberg reported last year.

Pat McGrath, Pat McGrath Labs — $1 billion
Pat McGrath is a makeup artist and the founder of McGrath Labs. Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
Latest valuation: $1 billion

Since the ’90s, McGrath has been an influential makeup artist known for her work in fashion magazines and runway looks at fashion-week shows. In 2015, she launched her own cosmetic brand called Pat McGrath Labs.

In 2018, private-equity firm Eurazeo invested $60 million in Pat McGrath Labs, valuing the beauty brand at $1 billion, Business of Fashion reported.

Isabel Aznarez, Stoke Therapeutics — $360 million

Isabel Aznarez is a cofounder and the VP head of biology at Stoke Therapeutics. Stoke Therapeutics
Latest valuation: $360 million

Aznarez is a cofounder the senior vice president, head of biology at Stoke Therapeutics, a biotechnology company she founded in 2014 with Adrian Krainer.

Stoke Therapeutics filed for an IPO in 2019 with a valuation of $2.16 billion, Insider reported.

Now, as a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq, the company’s valuation ebbs and flows. At the time of publishing, the company had a $360 million market cap.

Jessica Alba, The Honest Company — $259 million

Jessica Alba is an actor and the founder of The Honest Company. Frazer Harrison/GettyImages
Current valuation: $259 million

Alba is an actor known for her roles in the movies “Fantastic Four” and “Sin City.” In 2012, she founded The Honest Company, a retailer that sells baby, beauty, and household products that exclude more than 3,500 materials and chemicals the company said pose a potential risk to users.

The Honest Company first received its unicorn status in 2015, when it raised $100 million and recieved a $1.7 billion valuation. The company lost its billion-dollar valuation in 2017 in a $75 million funding round, Inc. reported.

In 2021, The Honest Company filed an IPO, which valued the company at $1.4 billion. Now, as a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq, the company’s valuation ebbs and flows. At the time of publishing, the company had a $259 million market cap.

Source – Business Insider