Is This 31-Year-Old The First Black Woman In New Jersey To Raise More Than $1 Million?

It’s hard enough for women to raise venture capital; of the more than $300 billion deployed to startups last year, women received just $6 billion, or 2%. And women of color get an even smaller piece of the pie; last year, according to Crunchbase, Black women received 0.35% of all startup venture funding.

Mindright founder Ashley Edwards, 31, knows this reality all too well. But she’s also managing to beat the odds: Today she’s announcing a $1.8 million seed round for her company, which provides mental health services to underserved teens via SMS text messaging. Investors like Melinda French Gates and Lifeforce Capital were attracted to the company in part due to its team of specially trained coaches who check in with youth daily to help them manage the challenges of both crises and everyday stressors. The SMS structure of the service, which helps eliminate technical and financial barriers to traditional mental healthcare access, was another selling point for the company’s investors.

Edwards says when she raised her $1 million pre-seed round in 2020, she became the first Black woman in New Jersey to achieve this level of VC funding. And today, the Forbes 30 Under 30 thinks she’s beating her own record with the June 2022 Series A, which brings her total funding to about $2.8 million.

“I saw how much trauma students in my community were going through,” says Edwards of her work as an educator in Newark, New Jersey, which inspired Mindright. “There was not any readily available mental health support that was culturally relevant to lived experiences of communities of color or low-income families.”

This Week’s Money Moves

medallion, which vending machines healthcare back office operations and compliance, is in demand, to say the least: It doubled its customer base, revenue and raised $35 million during this year’s first quarter. †Forbes

What happens when you mix real estate development and artisanal bakery ambition? You get something like Tartine’s boom and bust. †New Yorker

More than two decades after turning down a $120 million offer from Quaker Oats, Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, the majority owners of Clif Bar, have agreed to sell the energy bar company to snack giant Mondelez for $2.9 billion† †Forbes

Are Black businesses ready for another recession? an academic and executives weigh in† †Forbes

Clubhouse is making a play to come off life support with private groups. †Bloomberg

Despite the very bad signs for crypto, fintech and digital assets, infrastructure provider Prime Trust has raised $107 million in Series B funding. †Forbes

Pocus, an Under 30-founded company that aims to organize product data with monetization in mind, announces a $23 million fundraise. †Forbes

As VC funding reportedly slows (aforementioned headlines be damned?), corporations are stepping in as check writers–or at least, they are for enterprise tech† †Wall Street Journal

This sex worker is retiring from her job with $1 million† Like anyone on the brink of big change, she’s anxious about what’s next. †New York

Andrew Forrest became the richest man in australia by mining. Now, he’s pushing a green agenda, despite having produced zero hydrogen. †Forbes

Inside Scoop

By Anthony Tellezo

There is no better gift than the gift of giving—or so say the founders of Givebutter, a free platform for nonprofit fundraising.

Investors appear to agree. Today, Givebutter founders Max Friedman, Liran Cohen and Ari Krasner tell Forbes that they’ve raised a $7 million dollar seed funding round from investors including executives from Mailchimp, Calendly and Zapier. “Were we’re trying to make our impact is in small nonprofits and give them the tools that they don’t have access to that large nonprofits do,” says Friedman, the company’s CEO. “I think it’s just a really exciting opportunity to build not only the operating system for nonprofits, but also the go to giving platform for changemakers anywhere.”

With this seed round of funding, Friedman hopes to further develop Givebutter’s platform by creating a tool for donors to engage directly with the nonprofits to which they are donating.

Since 2020, Givebutter has raised over $300 million in donations for its users and has grown exponentially over the course of the pandemic, when nonprofits had to come up with creative solutions to raise money during lockdowns. In 2022, the three made the Forbes Under 30 list for Social impact. Today the company has 30 employees who operate in 14 different states across the country.

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