Mogul Jay-Z has been a strong advocate for Black entrepreneurship and he’s furthering his efforts to empower those who have launched their own ventures. The Brooklyn native and NBA star Chris Paul recently invested in a Black-owned vegan food brand.
The company—dubbed Misha’s Kind Foods—was created to put a plant-based, dairy-free spin on a variety of cheeses. After discovering there was a lack of alternative options, entrepreneurs Aaron Bullock and Ian Martin wanted to fill the void and decided to launch their business. The brand’s cheeses are made from locally sourced produce, herbs, and spices as well as organic almond and cashew milk. The company recently closed a $3 million seed round with investments from Jay-Z’s Marcy Ventures Partners, Chris Paul and Lisa Shamus & Partners.
“These investors, and their enthusiasm, not only confirm the quality and excellence of our artisan cheeses, but they also align with our long-term vision and mission,” Misha’s Kind Foods Co-founder and CEO Aaron Bullock said in a statement. “I’m confident having these investors at the table will be vital to the future growth of the company as they bring valuable cultural instincts, branding knowledge as well as operations and growth expertise.” Marcy Venture Partners co-founder Jay Brown says the company’s mission is in alignment with MVP’s core values and that the firm supports the growth of businesses that have “sustainability, empowerment, inclusivity, accessibility, convenience, health and wellness and personal expression” embedded in the fabric of their DNA. The ever-growing vegan food industry is projected to reach $31.4 billion by 2026.
News about Misha’s Kind Foods’ milestone comes as there remains a stagnancy surrounding racial equity in the entrepreneurship space. The Harvard Business Review reported Black founders receive a mere 1 percent of VC funding.