Sevetri Wilson, Resilia, Silicon Bayou, Saas, Govtech, Nonprofit Tech, Philantech

Sevetri Wilson, Resilia

Black Woman Tech Founder Shows How Innovation Is Done In The Silicon Bayou

''It's important that these organizations go beyond just writing a philanthropic check to purchase products and services from BIPOC entrepreneurs,' said Wilson. Starting and expanding supplier diversity programs can help.' @Ventureneer

11/22/2020 5:01:00 PM

''It's important that these organizations go beyond just writing a philanthropic check to purchase products and services from BIPOC entrepreneurs,' said Wilson. Starting and expanding supplier diversity programs can help.' Ventureneer

I am president of Ventureneer, which specializes in defining and eliminating problems that hold underrepresented entrepreneurs back, especially minorities and women. Our work provides clients with branded research, training and content opportunities that generate thought-leadership, visibility, sales, and brand loyalty. I am a WE NYC and digitalundivided mentor as well as an advisory board member of Million Dollar Women, Women Startup Lab, and Aleri Research..

The Nonprofit Times. Resilia added tools for compliance, management, training, and funding. It enables grantors like governments, foundations, and corporations to deploy capital quickly and efficiently. Like many founders, when Wilson first began to raise capital, she sought big-name, well-known venture capitalists. She learned pretty quickly the importance of targeting VCs who are values-aligned with her's."In my case, that meant investors who invest outside of Silicon Valley, and invest in founders who are women and people of color," she said. 

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After Wilson was written about in Hypepotamus, the Southeast'sgo-to source about the innovationcommunity, Kristina Montague, managing partner of The JumpFund, reached out through LinkedIn. The JumpFund activates women's wealth to fund female founders in the Southeast. Many of the JumpFunds' limited partners sit at the intersection of philanthropy and nonprofits."They understood the opportunity," said Wilson. Montague is also on Resilia's board of directors. 

As did Alicia Robb, managing director of Next Wave Impact, when Montague approached her about being part of the seed round. Next Wave is driving impact, diversity, and inclusion in early-stage investing and the entrepreneurial ecosystem and produces the

Founders of Color Showcase. Both were Seed stage and Series A round investors. Montague invited Wilson to a women's event in Chattanooga. There she met Monique Villa, an investor and scout for Mucker Capital, which invests in scrappy SaaS companies outside of Silicon Valley. Villa connected Wilson to Mucker's cofounders and partners. They too recognized the potential of Resilia and joined the Seed round.

Last spring, Resilia announced an $8 million series A funding round, led by Mucker Capital and Callais Capital Management, with participation by Cultivation Capital. Funds raised to date are $10.4 million.Having experienced the government and philanthropic response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation, Wilson knew billions of dollars of new funding would be deployed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement."Often, organizations or groups come together to give a whole bunch of money, then four or five years later ask whatever happened to that money?" said Wilson. This is particularly true of new funding initiatives that don't yet have a back-office infrastructure. 

To ensure that their dollars are not being wasted, funders want to know the impact of their dollars immediately and over time. Resilia expanded its product line to serve the complex needs of grantors (government, corporations, foundations, and private donors) and grantees, commented William Hsu, cofounder and partner at Mucker Capital and a Resilia member board. 

Coordinating the philanthropic response has been a tremendous opportunity for Resilia."As a result, the company has experienced a 40% uptick in revenue from all its products," said Wilson. Since Black Lives Matters, consumers are getting the importance of buying from Black-owned companies. Not so in the govtech, and nonprofit and philanthropy tech worlds. Government agencies, corporations, and foundations are still not giving Black-owned tech firms their due."It's important that these organizations go beyond just writing a philanthropic check to purchase products and services from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) entrepreneurs," said Wilson. Starting and expanding supplier diversity programs can help. Supplier diversity programs proactively encourage the use of traditionally underrepresented or underserved group such as women and minorities.

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One initiative in the works since 2019 is happening at the federal level. Currently, to qualify to participate in these programs, firms must be 51% owned and controlled by women or minorities. For federal programs, there is bipartisan support forthat women-owned and minority-owned small businesses are still eligible for contracting opportunities even if they receive more than 50% of capital from private equity or venture capital firms. 

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