Black Tech Nation Ventures (BTNV) – a new venture capital fund based in Pittsburgh – will invest in Black-led and/or black-owned companies and other underserved communities. The fund is targeting to raise $50 million and is aiming to make investments this summer.
BTNV is led by three general partners: Kelauni Jasmyn founder and leader of Black Tech Nation, which Jasmyn founded in 2017 after arriving in Pittsburgh from Chicago to grow the tech ecosystem opportunities for Black entrepreneurs; David Motley, president and CEO of managed services provider MCAPS LLC and co-founder of the African American Directors Forum, which aims to increase Black directors at public companies; and Sean Sebastian, founding partner of Birchmere Ventures, Pittsburgh’s sixth-largest private equity firm, with $250 million in capital under management.
“Pittsburgh hasn’t had anything like this, and we have an opportunity to bring that Atlanta flavor to Pittsburgh,” said Jasmyn. “We’ll have Black middle-class educated enthusiastic investors to look at Pittsburgh as a place where they can also thrive. It would be huge for the city and huge for the Black community to see people like them rise in the ranks.”
Manufacturing in the U.S. faces compounding issues. In a study by the National Association of Manufacturers, 25.8% of manufacturers said that they “had to turn away work and lose revenue opportunities due to the inability to attract and retain workers.” Deloitte estimates that without a concentrated effort to recruit new workers and solve the skills gap, as many as 2.4 million positions may go unfilled between 2018 and 2028.
The past year has highlighted how fundamental manufacturing is to our nation’s security and economic stability. But even more fundamental – and critical to our nation’s resilience – are those working on the factory floors throughout the U.S. who may feel they have uncertain futures. How do we solve these problems and fill the factories of the future?
The answer – coming from the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute in Pittsburgh – may not be as obvious as you think.