New Media Ventures (NMV), a seed fund and network of angel investors based in the Bay Area, announced that it is investing $1.5 million into 17 entrepreneurs, activists, and progressive organizations. One of the groups selected from a pool of almost 600 applicants is The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of more than 50 organizations fighting for black political and economic power.
“New Media Ventures is proud to announce our 2019 recipients, who together, will receive our largest round of funding ever,” said Julie Menter, managing director of New Media Ventures, in a statement. “These organizations are on the frontlines of our democracy, building the tools, platforms, and systems that vulnerable communities and progressive organizers need to make our society better for all.”
M4BL describes itself as a “leader-full movement” that focuses on policy, mass engagement, electoral justice, resource generation, organizing, and base building. The group launched in 2014 following the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice by the hands of police to ultimately dismantle systemic oppression and achieve black liberation. Funding for the group will be allocated toward the M4BL app, which will “politically mobilize millions, build the leadership of thousands, and move folks from online activism to organizing safely in their communities, so that black political power is a force able to influence national and local agendas in the direction of a shared vision,” reads a statement on the New Media Ventures website.
According to a recent press release, NMV received more than 500 relevant applications from progressive startups seeking funding this year, up 50% from 2018 and a massive increase over the 100 applications received in 2016. Of the applications, New Media Ventures interviewed 98 and selected 33 finalists before finalizing 17 recipients.
“We have evaluated thousands of startups over the last decade, giving us a unique perspective on drivers of success in the field. We’re looking for the right mix of vision, persistence, and execution ability,” said the New Media Ventures Investment team.
Other 2019 recipients include Sunrise Movement, a group of young people working to make climate change an urgent priority in the U.S., and PeoplesHub, a progressive online platform that connects people to the support, analysis, stories, and skills they need to make positive change within their communities and in the world.
“At New Media Ventures, we see investment as a mechanism for societal change and work to redirect capital toward entrepreneurs and activists on the front lines to tackle the biggest challenges facing our democracy and society today,” continued Menter. “We look beyond expected opportunities to find the most innovative and effective approaches to creating lasting change and these 17 companies and organizations are leading the way forward.”
Overall, the women-led venture firm has invested more than $50M in direct funding to over 70 startups since launching in 2010. Past recipients include Pantsuit Nation, Blavity, SumOfUs, ActBlue Civics, Indivisible, MobilizeAmerica, Mijente, Attentive.ly, and Upworthy.