The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities has become apparent as U.S. Black-owned small businesses were twice as likely to close during the early months than small businesses nationally. Additionally, there is a funding gap — only 1% of VC-backed startups are Black.

On Oct. 21, in partnership with The National Black Chamber of Commerce, humble hosted a virtual pop-up experience, Backing Black Businesses, to convene innovators to discuss how to remove the barriers of access to capital, education, and network for Black entrepreneurs.

The event, which 155 people attended, kicked off with a roundtable discussion led by humble’s Harry Alford as the moderator. The panel featured Rise of the Rest Seed Fund’s David Hall and Opportunity Hub’s Chairman & CEO Rodney Sampson. They discussed details of their $2,000,000 virtual pitch competition for US-based startups led by Black founders outside of Silicon Valley held from December 1st-3rd.

Virtual speed networking followed the panel, matching attendees to network and make meaningful connections.

This pop-up intended to address the inequities and isolation compounded by COVID-19 that makes convening harder for startups. What we got was a riveting, educational, and informative discussion led by industry leaders. Topics that were discussed include:

● How they got into venture

● The current state of Black entrepreneurship

● Recent events and if anything in the venture space will change

● Diversity theater

● The businesses they’ve invested in that should be on all of our


● How to build more inclusive startup ecosystems for communities of


● Why they are embarking on the Rise of the Rest Equity Tour

Below are video highlights from the 45-minute panel followed by our top

takeaways, panelist information, and more details about the Rise of the Rest Virtual



Harry Alford, Co-Founder, humble ventures (Moderator)

David Hall, Managing Partner, Rise of the Rest Seed Funds

Rodney Sampson, OHUB Chairman & CEO, General Partner, 1000 Black Angels

humble’s Top Takeaways

● Investing is a bet on the jockey and the track.

● Have an obsession with the problem you’re solving and the science

of company-building.

● Creating platforms to drive diverse students and future

entrepreneurs to big tech recruiting funnels is really important.

● Widen the aperture for entrepreneurship in communities to let

diverse startups flourish.

● For Black founders, the path is steeper and the challenges are


● Black founders are solving just as many problems as their white


● The 1% that are able to raise venture funding still don’t have as big

as a platform that they need.

● Bring together the entire ecosystem — established enterprises,

startups, investors, education institutions, and policymakers to

name a few.

● The best customers for startups are big corporations.

● The Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition is an accelerated

capital investment engine with 60+ curated venture capital firms.

● Black investors have a whole different network.

● The magic of collaboration is that it brings networks together.

● We can get better products to launch by adding diversity and the

collective intelligence of people together.

● If you want alpha then you’ve got to invest time and look where

everyone else isn’t looking.

● There are higher returns when you invest in diverse startups.

● COVID has been an equalizer enabling more opportunities to pitch

beyond geographical barriers.

● COVID has created a lot of dislocation and will reinvigorate how the

supply chain works.

● This is the time to double-click on the urgency of now.

● Get off the sideline and get into ecosystems.

Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition

2020 Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition

A series of virtual events will be held from December 1st-3rd, 2020, featuring leaders in

inclusive innovation…

About Hosts

The National Black Chamber of Commerce

The National Black Chamber of Commerce® is the largest Black business association

globally. It is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African-American

communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States.

humble ventures

humble ventures is a venture development firm that drives innovation forward through

collaboration and partnerships with startups, investors, and established organizations.

We focus on diverse entrepreneurs and those building solutions for diverse audiences.



Harry Alford

Harry Alford is Co-Founder of humble ventures, a venture development firm accelerating tech startups in partnership with large organizations and investors.