We ended 2022 on a high note. We got oversubscribed. We invested in talented founders. We rebranded ourselves and came closer to what we want to be remembered as. Though we were always aware that there are a lot of grey areas in entrepreneurship, setting up BKR taught us more firmly that there is no such thing as perfection. Action, course-correction and to keep moving is the only way forward.
Working so closely with our community members in 2022 has expanded our emotional capacities. We were always cognizant of the immense responsibilities attached to the job of being a VC; deploying our funds wisely, ensuring returns for our LPs, saying no to founders with grace & empathy, and showing them respect through valid feedback. How much more personal these interactions and exchanges would feel because it they are happening within our community was a revelation to us. While unearthing and funding talented Black founders was and still remains our main focus, we want to widen our impact in 2023 by increasing our reach within the Black community.
The BKR VC Fellowship is a step in that direction.
During the course of a 9-month immersion program, the BKR VC Fellowship is designed to make the participating fellows learn through practical application. The aim of the program is to:
a) To diversify the VC investment landscape by building a strong network of experts in different industries who can drive that change.
b) To educate the next crop of investors, advisors, and fund managers about the VC ecosystem and the benefit of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
c) To create the needed exposure for these early-stage investors (potential and existing) from underrepresented backgrounds.
The program offers various benefits to participating fellows such as networking with and sharing the experiences of seasoned mentors. Fellows learn about the VC landscape, how a VC firm is structured, startup investing strategies, evaluation frameworks, deal mechanics, etc. We are eager to see the result of this endeavor as the investment journey of our first cohort unfolds. We look forward to welcoming our 2023 cohort and to equip them with skills and tools needed to grow as investors.
We look forward to sharing our expert views and insights on various topics
To truly change the narrative around Black founders, it is important to not only invest in Black founders but to highlight success stories and invest time in educative initiatives as well. We started our work to this end through our blogs & social media posts, and will double down on our efforts in 2023. We will continue to speak on topics which matter the most to us, and accelerate the change in perception about founders from Black community. Edtech, Proptech, Fintech, Future of Work, Diversity; these are just a few themes we are excited to share our views and perspectives about on different platforms.
We will continue to be firm believers in the power of technology
2022 was a year of two simultaneous realities; the uncertainty of the downturn and the unstoppable wave of disruption hitting every industry. As an industry, venture capital had to showcase unwavering human resilience and spirit. At BKR Capital we are focused on finding world-class Black tech entrepreneurs and our firm will continue to do so in 2023. We plan to make more investments this year primarily because we believe that the best companies are created during a downcycle, with high-conviction and more disciplined entrepreneurs. Amongst others, sectors that we are following closely are Edtech, Fintech and Proptech. With sustainability slowly but steadily becoming a core competency metric, we are excited to unearth solutions at the intersectionality of tech and sustainability. Though all sectors have an equal potential to develop sustainable solutions, we are especially excited to see how the Proptech play pans out with innovations focused on green technology and democratizing access to real estate.
To sum it up, we expect the venture markets to have fully digested the reset in the pricing over the last year and the certainty of innovation to be at the center of conversations once again!
Initiatives focused on the Black community are central to the Black narrative
It’s critical for Black founders to have the opportunity to network with and learn from others who have walked in their shoes. At BKR Capital we have made a long -standing commitment to provide funding and mentorship support to the talented Black founder community. To do so we will continue collaborating with and participating in programs that help Black technology founders advance and grow their business. Our work to support the Black entrepreneurial ecosystem is rooted in our partnerships with entities such as HEC Montreal’s Base Entrepreneurial, League of Innovators and DMZ’s Black Innovation Program. Through such strong collaborations, we will move the needle towards a more inclusive entrepreneurial environment.
Conclusion: It's time to step on the gas
Fresh out of the pandemic, surrounded by geopolitical tensions, shook by macro-economic uncertainties, the world adjusted to a changed reality in 2022. Conversations around sustainability and diversity in innovation became frequent, louder and fiercer. Financial performance and impact were no more at the opposite ends of a spectrum. As more LPs and GPs apply a sustainability lens to their investments, we are proud to be a part of this transition as it’s happening. We are proud that we a playing a small part in bringing changes so that these conversations don’t have to struggle to find their rightful audience or the attention that they deserve. We are proud that we are bringing this change while not compromising on financial performance or innovation.
While the momentum is there, efforts towards a more equitable investment environment and diversity in innovation, need to be accelerated.
In 2023 we want to step on the gas, do our utmost the speed up the rate of change, and get closer to the ultimate goal of making this mindset a norm.