Black Wall Street Panelists Cross Culture Ventures Impact America Fund

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After four years of attempts at winning Sand Hill Road attention, a fast-growing hair extension company that empowers tens of thousands of beauticians as salespeople landed a $10 million round funded led by Andreessen Horowitz earlier this year. The company called Mayvenn wracked up media attention since that time for being one of few startups targeting the African American community to win venture capital from the mostly white and male investors in Silicon Valley.  

Mayvenn has become a key example in an emerging sector venture capitalists visiting Durham last week for Black Wall Street Homecoming call "culturally driven brands and products." They're businesses that modernize and digitize industries projected to grow in significance as the U.S. becomes majority minority in the next 25 years. Hair extensions are already a $9 billion industry, with women spending as much as $1,200 per month on hair and Fortune 500 companies wanting those women as customers, according to the investors.

The trio of venture capitalists in the video below are connected to San Francisco-based CODE2040 and its Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, which American Underground is piloting this year with Durham entrepreneur Talib Graves-Manns. In town for the events were Cross Culture Ventures' Marlon Nichols, who previously worked at Intel Capital, and Trevor Thomas, an entrepreneur who sold a company before working in VC, along with Impact America Fund's Stefanie Thomas. 

Both funds were among the first institutional investors in now Silicon Valley darling, Mayvenn, which puts hair extension sales in the hands of the hairdressers who apply them. Check out their insights on an emerging industry, and a landmark deal for the Valley:

Marlon Nichols and Trevor Thomas of Cross Culture Ventures along with Stefanie Thomas talk about their investment in Mayvenn and other business opportunities targeting minority populations at Black Wall Street Homecoming. Credit: Patrick Durham