As the Founder & Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, seasoned business mastermind, venture capitalist & serial entrepreneur Melissa Bradley is a trusted voice whose advice is as good as gold (literally) for entrepreneurs looking to learn what moves to make to successfully take their businesses to the next level.
Described on the company’s official website as a conglomerate of “DC-based business veterans” looking to bridge “the gap between entrepreneurs and equity,” Bradley and the 1863 team have shown and proven that they’re a visible force to be reckoned with when it comes to providing lucrative guidance and opportunities for Black & Brown business owners. From offering early-stage and growth-stage entrepreneurs consistent support in the form of leadership training, capital and strategic market access, to being a one-of-a-kind mentorship hub for Black & Brown business owners, the company provides an immersive experience intended to yield high growth by reducing barriers and risk for founders nationwide.
And make no mistake, this is a team who has the numbers to back it up.
Collectively, 1863 Ventures leadership brings much to the table, including: $12 million in startup founders & team members; 56 years of cumulative startup and corporate experience; 36 years of project management experience; $45 million raised to support New Majority Teams; and a whopping $300 million in aggregate revenue generated by the 2,500 entrepreneurs who have completed their program.
Scroll down for a look at 5 key learnings for entrepreneurs shared by Melissa Bradley during her ESSENCE + GU Entrepreneur Summit panel presented by Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women. For more of everything you missed at the Summit, visit essencestudios.com.
The ESSENCE + GU Entrepreneur Summit is presented by Coca-Cola® and sponsored by Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women.
Think About Where You Want To End Up Before You Start Your Funding Journey
“To use the analogy of a car, how comfortable or uncomfortable are you willing to be on that ride? Because I think that will speak to how much money you feel comfortable raising, who you want to join your team, what role you want those investors to play beyond writing a check, and how much you’re willing to give up of your company.”
Re-Imagine How You Think About Fundraising
“When I started my first company many many years ago, I was like, “I HATE fundraising.” And, a white man said to me, “Yeah but, it’s not you asking them to help you, it’s you inviting them on the journey because you’re going to be successful.”
Talk To Other Entrepreneurs About Funding
“The beauty of it is, I always say, we still have our own Underground Railroad. Everybody is usually looking for money and we all find it in different places and if we connect the dots, we’re all going to be better off.”
Sign Up For Company Newsletters To Stay Informed About Opportunities
“Sign up for newsletters [created by] people who are running programs. Also, look at a variety of aggregated newsletters. The New Voices [team]
does an amazing newsletter where they aggregate all the grant programs and everything that’s out there, because the last thing we have is time to be tracking down all of this supposed free money.”
Venture Capitalists Are Not “Vulture Capitalists”
“When I was coming along, venture capitalists were “vulture capitalists.” But, being one now, respectfully, I don’t think we’re vulture capitalists. I do think that we have to be mindful, particularly with the $300 billion of new money that has gone to Black GPs (General Partnerships). What we’re really looking to do is to send a signal effect that we are successful. And so, I think we are here to be partners, not extractors. And, that’s not everybody, but, I think that there are enough of us now who are really in this game to win, not for ourselves, but for our community.”