You wouldn’t be able to tell by the powerhouse brands she’s launched that Hannah Bronfman had a challenging time acquiring investment dollars early on in her entrepreneurial journey.
The founder of wellness lifestyle company HBFIT, and daughter of Seagram’s liquor empire, Edgar Jr., Bronfman said she experienced all the ‘isms while shopping her co-founded app Beautified 10 years ago. The idea was ahead of its time–an application that facilitated last-minute spa and beauty salon appointments. But she was young, 25 at the time, Black, a woman and she says investors didn’t take her or her company seriously because of that.
“I had a really difficult firsthand experience raising money in the world of venture back in 2014,” she said. “As a young Black woman, I was met with racism, sexism, and ageism. We still wound up closing $1.2 million, but I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t dispirited a bit by the experience. Those investor encounters were really uncomfortable.”
Because of the unpleasant experiences, she said she was motivated to mitigate the likelihood of other women of color from going through the same when starting their own businesses.
“I really love investing in companies that are dedicated to making the world a better place while also encouraging people to feel good about themselves in the process,” she says. “It’s also really important that these businesses are owned by women of color as well.”
Bronfman’s investment ethos is spot on. Black women, in particular, are the most underfunded entrepreneurial group (just under receive 0.27% of all venture dollars in the U.S.) but the most ambitious, with them leading in starting businesses than their non-Black counterparts.
“I’m hyper-focused on minority founders, and women are the largest group of that,” Bronfman said. “We already know all of the statistics around the lack of capital that women have access to. So that’s where I like to focus in the hopes that we can change those statistics,”
To date, her portfolio includes 23 female founded companies, 10 of which are BIPOC founders.
And while investing in other businesses are essential, she centers key partnerships as well. Among the many brands she’s aligned with, she says there’s one that she’s most passionate about at the moment.
“It’s really important to surround myself with like-minded individuals that are dedicated to spreading the word about health and wellness,” she said. “Companies like Hair Food just get it right. They’re helping women sustain the health of their hair through natural hair, and this is really important for women of color and our unique textures.”
Bronfman is continuing her mission to encourage people to not only take care of themselves, but support the companies that are doing the same.
“It’s time for women of color entrepreneurs to receive the funding support they need and deserve, and I’m excited to help make that happen.”