UK Black Tech Entrepreneurs Lament Dearth in Funding, Opt for Foreign Investors

Black tech entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom say they have to rely on foreign investors to get their businesses off the ground.

More than a year after the Black Lives Matter protests prompted the UK government to investigate discrimination against Black business owners, British venture capital firms continue to neglect Black and ethnic minority founders despite a booming startup scene.

“It is clear that the UK is not the place to try and get funding for your startup,” says Rich Serunjogi, founder of Business Score, which matches e-commerce companies with working capital financing.

“Only the very best [UK] VCs are interested. The second-tier funds tend to ignore Black founders and give excuses such as the business’ market size not being big enough or the idea being ‘too niche’.”

Between 2009 and 2019, only 0.24% of all venture capital available to UK startups went to just 38 Black founders, according to Extend Ventures, a non-profit that tracks the investment barriers minority businesses face.

Comparable data for 2020 has not yet been released, but it was a bumper year overall for UK startups trying to raise funds, with venture capital firms investing a record £11.3 billion ($15 billion), according to recent research by Tech Nation, a UK public-private body that helps British technology companies grow.

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