Backing Black Businesses with David Hall and Rodney Sampson


Beyond the Rhetoric

By Harry C. Alford III

Video Highlights, Top Takeaways, and Resources

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 October 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 U.S.-based startups led by Black founders outside of Silicon Valley [which will be] held from December 1-3. 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 radars.
  • How to build more inclusive startup ecosystems for communities of color.
  • 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 about the Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour:


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

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

Rodeny 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 greater.
  • Black founders are solving just as many problems as their white counterparts.
  • 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 sidelines 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 1-3, 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

Harry Alford III

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

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