Black-founded Kanarys raises ‘historic’ $3 million in funding for diversity and inclusion technology
Kanarys, a Dallas diversity and inclusion business founded by two Black women, is getting a $3 million boost to ramp up its technology, hiring and sales and marketing efforts.
Cofounders Mandy Price and Star Carter announced the seed funding Wednesday, describing it as a “historic” shift toward more equitable backing of Black-owned startups. The new capital raises Kanarys’ funding to date to $4.6 million.
Price and Carter are among just 25 Black women founders to raise as much as $4.6 million in venture capital and two of only 93 Black women to attract over $1 million in funding, according to the company, citing data obtained from startup investment tracking website Crunchbase.
The new investment comes from Zeal Capital Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Morgan Stanley, 100 Black Angels Fund, Segal Ventures and Jigsaw Ventures.
Kanarys’ technology uses data gathered from anonymous employee reviews, company policies and organizational data to help companies improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. It’s now working with about 1,000 companies, including Fortune 500 brands.
“We know that a focus on DEI in business is not just the right thing to do for employees, it also makes good business sense,” Price said in a statement.
Since launching the platform in 2019, the company said, it has grown its user base by 2,000%. It has not disclosed revenue figures.
Nasir Qadree, founder and managing partner of Zeal Capital Partners, said Kanarys is tapping into a “sense of urgency among corporations and organizations to do better by their employees.” Corporate diversity, equity and inclusion programs moved to the forefront last summer after a series of racial and social justice protests swept across the country.
“We are proud to back Kanarys because the founders are enacting real change, and their use of advanced technology and data is redefining how corporations measure and analyze the impact of DEI initiatives,” Qadree said.
Women and Black founders have historically had more difficulty attracting venture capital investment, even though Black women are the fastest-growing group of female entrepreneurs in the U.S., according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
In 2017, PitchBook found that 98% of U.S. venture capital went to men. Two years later, Crunchbase reported that female founders received only 4% of funding in 2019.
Kanarys and another Black-founded North Texas business, ShearShare, were selected by tech giant Google last year for its inaugural black founders startup class.