Adeyemi Ajao co-founded Base10 Partners in 2018 to find and invest in the best entrepreneurs around the world. According to Forbes, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm led by Black invests in automation technology across industries such as food and retail using a data-driven approach.
“There are far too many businesses out there,” Ajao told Forbes. “According to our calculations, there are 110 new deals per day that our VCs must review, so we need to find a way to focus and filter that.”
As a result, the company created an automated software tool to “track startups in real-time with a set of predictive data points; the 64 investments Base10 has made represent 0.4 percent of the more than 15,000 companies that it follows,” according to Forbes.
Base10 recently raised a $460 million early-stage investment fund, bringing the company’s total assets under management to $1.3 billion. According to Insider, this also made the company the first Black-led firm to surpass $1 billion in assets.
According to Insider, the increase in the company’s assets is due to more limited partners now supporting VC firms led by investors from underrepresented backgrounds. This follows the murder of George Floyd in 2020, which heightened calls for racial equality.
According to TechCrunch, Base10’s $137 million debut fund in 2018 was the largest debut for a Black-led venture capital firm. When the news reached Ajao from his company’s limited partners, he was taken aback.
“Yeah, I know I’m black, but so what?” In 2018, Ajao told TechCrunch. “I can be a little naive about these things until they become painfully obvious.”
Ajao is Nigerian, but he grew up in Spain before moving to San Francisco, California. He told TechCrunch that he was forced to confront inequity and his identity as a Black man in America. Growing up, he wasn’t used to it.
Currently, about 60% of his company’s investments have gone to minority founders, even though Base10 is not primarily a minority-focused firm. It has worked to improve funding for Black people to gain access to technology and entrepreneurship. According to Forbes, the company donates 1% of its profits to causes that promote diversity.