SAN FRANCISCO, April 13, 2021 — Nex Cubed, a leader in early-stage innovation and startup acceleration, has announced Franklin Templeton as the second Founding Partner for its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Founder’s Program. The global investment firm joins previously announced Founding Partner, AT&T.
With nearly 60% of Nex Cubed’s portfolio of companies being led by female and minority founders, it is no secret that diversity and inclusion have been at the heart of its mission since inception. However, with the series of devastating racial injustice events last summer, Nex Cubed doubled down on its diversity and inclusion efforts by launching its HBCU Founder’s Program with the goal of inspiring students and recent alumni at HBCUs in their pursuit of entrepreneurship.
To date, more than 350 students and alumni from over 50 HBCUs have enrolled in the Nex Cubed program and participated in industry webinars and virtual ideation sessions. The events are led by corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs, and top-tier investors across FinTech, EdTech, DigitalHealth, and PropTech – key social determinants in desperate need of systemic reform that technology can help enable.
“It is fairly common knowledge that there is a lack of diversity in the VC space, and therefore the startup ecosystem, and a lot of work needs to be done in order to improve this,” commented Nex Cubed CEO, Marlon Evans. “Our HBCU Founder’s Program aims to close the racial disparity gap and provide not only monetary support for aspiring entrepreneurs, but also advisory support, mentorship, and networking opportunities. We’re proud to partner with organizations like Franklin Templeton who are committed to locking arms and achieving this goal.”
As a Founding Partner, Franklin Templeton will help inform the FinTech program offerings as well as provide hands-on support to the program members through its employees who will serve as mentors and advisors.
“We are proud to partner with organizations such as Nex Cubed who have a shared commitment to diversity and creating a more inclusive investment environment,” said Regina Curry, Chief Diversity Officer at Franklin Templeton. “We believe the HBCU Founder’s Program will play a critical role in creating equal representation and access to opportunities within the startup ecosystem.”
In a recent announcement, Nex Cubed debuted the nine startups and their founders who were selected to participate in the inaugural HBCU Founder’s Summer Acceleration Program, which will take place virtually this summer. The founders invited to the Summer Acceleration Program received $10,000 in non-dilutive capital, technical resources to develop an MVP, physical working space in Silicon Valley, a business advisor, and over $1M worth of service provider perks and discounts to help propel their companies. To meet the founders and learn more about their companies, visit the Nex Cubed Meet the Founders page.
Franklin Templeton will join AT&T as Founding Partners of the HBCU Founder’s Program. Others who have raised their hand to support the program include Morgan Stanley, Cooley, and Perkins Coie, along with several community partners such asACT House,Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Black Venture Capital Consortium orBVCC,Divercity,Envision,HBCU Awards,HBCU Nation,Money Making Conversations With Rushion McDonald,NAF,Next Gen HQ, YG&N, andTiE Atlanta.