A Black entrepreneur-focused banking platform has raised $2.4 million in a pre-seed funding round.
Guava was founded just last year in an effort to address the wealth disparity between Black small business owners and their white counterparts.
Historically, there has been an inescapable gap between Black and white business owners, who consistently receive the majority of venture capital funding. This is despite the fact a report from Bloomberg shows that Black women make up the fastest growing population of entrepreneurs.
More specifically, Guava offers financial services such as expense and growth reports, budgeting, money transfers, and networking opportunities for Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Founder Kelly Ifill says that launching the company not only addresses support for the small business community, but it can serve as a great equalizer in the economic and entrepreneurship world.
“Black folks had to be entrepreneurs, we had to build businesses to support our families, but because of racism, we were excluded from so many opportunities,” said Ifill. “Guava aims to tackle the racial wealth gap head-on by facilitating the growth and resilience of Black small-business owners, creators, and entrepreneurs.”
With the pre-seed funding, Ifill says she will expand her team and produce more credit products to help entrepreneurs in rural regions to gain access to Guava’s services.
“Not only have legacy banks underserved Black communities for decades, but they also failed to recognize the vast financial opportunities they missed by doing so,” said Ifill. “Digital banks like Guava can help by providing broader access to core services, networks, and liquidity.”