The latest funding round for Travis Montaque’s AI messaging company, Holler, is a beacon of hope for Black founders who often receive less than 1 percent of total VC funding. The brand closed a $36 million series B funding round, co-led by CityRock Venture Partners and Richelieu Dennis’ New General Market Partners LLC.

Named to Fast Company’s 2020 list of Most Innovative Companies, Montaque’s messaging technology company uses AI and content to improve consumer communication online. The closing of the Series B follows an extremely successful year for Holler, as messaging becomes even more crucial during COVID-19 lockdowns. In 2020, the company launched new conversational media campaigns on behalf of industry leaders including HBO Max, Orbit, and Vita Coco. Other users include AB InBev, Diageo, IKEA, Mars, Molson Coors, Starbucks.

“Having meaningful conversations online is more important now than ever,” said Travis Montaque, CEO and Founder of Holler. “We knew that conversational media would be essential to everyday life so we’ve spent the last few years finessing our technology and building the foundation to take advantage of the moment when the market was ready to embrace it on a broader scale. In 2020, that work has started to pay dividends as the influence and potential of conversational media gained momentum with both investors and brands.”

Investors in the round also include Gaingels, Interplay Ventures, Relevance Ventures, Towerview Ventures, and WorldQuant Ventures.

“Holler is more than simply a groundbreaking technology company,” says Oliver Libby, co-founder and Managing Partner of CityRock Venture Partners. “Under Travis Montaque’s visionary leadership, Holler boldly stands for a new era of ethics in social media, and also deeply reflects the values of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Along with what we believe is huge market potential, this is why Holler aligns so strongly with CityRock’s purpose-driven investment strategy. Our team is honored to be a part of Holler’s extraordinary journey.”

Holler will use its latest funding round to invest in the research, engineering and development around conversational media, and the original creative content intended to drive its use. In total, the company has raised more than $51 million.