Keith Daniel: Changing the Narrative for Black Founders in Venture Capital
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Hello! My name is Spiffy, I’m an interplanetary journalist. I’ve been speaking with innovators from around the world who are working on making a difference. One of those people is Keith Daniel, the managing partner at Resilient Ventures, LLC, who joins us on the blog today. Let’s dive in!
Spiffy: Welcome, Keith! What challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Keith: Hi there, Spiffy! Thanks for inviting me. We launched in 2019 with a mission for providing access to capital, networks, and opportunities to African-American founders of high-growth startups in a variety of sectors. We aspire to change the narrative regarding the lack of venture capital that goes to African-American entrepreneurs, as well as close the wealth gap.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Keith: After two decades in higher-education administration, teaching, and executive management, I transitioned to the world of faith-based institutions and non-profit management addressing issues facing marginalized communities. Most of my career has been in the field of philanthropy. I was motivated to found Resilient from the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights Heroines. 'Philanthropy is commendable but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the economic injustice that makes philanthropy necessary.' Our work is motivated by building a beloved community and wealth creation for the black community against the racial bias in Venture Capital.
Spiffy: In your words, how are you working towards a more equitable world?
Keith: Equity is the keyword in the question. Our values are focused on creating more diverse owners of successful high-growth businesses. We are opening our networks and deploying critical growth-stage capital in companies that are bringing vital solutions to workplace culture, energy, health and wellness, beloved community building, and superior goods and services for making better human beings, and not simply more things!
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make on your community?
Keith: We have successfully deployed 90% of our around $4 million Fund I. We are now raising our second with capital commitments from nearly 50% of our Fund I Limited Partners. This is a major milestone as we seek to raise 300% more capital for our second fund.
Spiffy: I wish you all the best! What can you tell me about an inspiring startup that your organization has helped to advance its impact?
Keith: We have several in our portfolio, which is young with several investments being made during the pandemic. For this question, I'll offer CircleIn as one example. CircleIn is a software as a service (SaaS) addressing student retention and graduation success for college and university students. This North-Carolina-based company proved its solution and profitability first in Nevada before settling here. Their peer-to-peer study/tutoring tool is transforming student success rates and saving colleges thousands per student. Check out their website/founder's story here.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Keith: I continue to be highly involved in the higher-education field. Being a "lifelong learner." We can learn so much by paying close attention to what is around us and in front of us. We can learn from everyone. I firmly believe/know that what success I have experienced is from the high value instilled in me to learn from the best and the failures of myself and others.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Keith—it’s been an honor!
Dr. M. Keith Daniel is the owner of Madison Consulting Group, LLC. (MCG) and the co-founder and managing director for Resilient Ventures, LLC. Resilient, launched in 2019, invests in African-American entrepreneurs. Resilient Fund I closed at $3.425M. The firm has invested $2.1M in 11 companies. Keith holds a BA, M.Div., D.Min from Duke University, and an M.Ed. from NC State. (Nominated by Brandon Parkes at Parkes Philanthropy. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 22, 2023.)