Sometimes the tells are obvious and frustrating
I grew up in a household filled with love. My parents instilled in my Brother, Sister and I from an early age that all people are created equal and no one has the right to pass judgement on anybody. In terms of race, creed, or religion, it was taught that we all have the same hearts inside and all of our blood runs red.
I am currently working on one of the most innovative and exciting disruptive startup projects imaginable. I am blessed to be a partner with five absolutely brilliant African American women, and the only thing that is stopping our project from taking off is venture capital.
We’ve had a couple of meetings with VC’s and there is one image that I can’t get over. It was one of the guys (who was white) staring at the Zoom camera and saying ‘’We need to talk about finance, I guess that’s your role Alan.’’ I felt like throwing up. He constantly seemed to ignore the Founders. One of our partners has a Law Degree and is an MBA, why did he assume it was my role to discuss finance? We also have a very accomplished CFO. When he had questions why did he keep addressing them to me? He listened to our presentation and at the end, he had no comments or suggestions, he said he’d get back to us and that was it. Never heard from him again. The funny thing is our group was not surprised. Maybe he was also a misogynist.
We’ve talked about the obstacles we are going to face and the questions that must be answered but we weren’t prepared for an under current of racism. When you have a solid concept and the numbers make sense, you would think people would get excited. When there are five accomplished Black women who are the driving the project forward, you’d think there would be tremendous interest. Instead we know that there are hurdles we are going to have to leap based on factors outside of the concept.
This project stands out and stands alone. One of the other frustrations we’ve encountered was with a financial ‘’expert’’ who specializes in raising capital. She put us in the same category as other start ups and failed to recognize our Unique Selling Proposition. It was frustrating and the fact we never heard from her again after our initial conversation was curious.
Our disruptive project will appeal to people who have not had the opportunity to see themselves represented properly in a major sector of the broadcasting business. Our project will be aspirational and inspirational. It is a commercial opportunity with tremendous upside and the chance to make an impact not only in North America but around the world.
We will keep driving forward with ‘’No Retreat, No Surrender’’ as our motto.
I know we will continue to find tremendous talent for our project and we will eventually raise the required dollars. I think we’re at the most interesting part of the build process. We know somewhere out there, we will find the right people to help launch our endeavour, in the interim we will keep driving forward, it is the only way we know to go and nothing will stop us.