Cross Culture Ventures, a minority-owned and operated venture fund, whose general partners include Troy Carter and Marlon Nichols, and venture partner, Suzy Ryoo, recently produced a series of reports highlighting themes focused on the state of technology and culture.
The first report released exemplifies what the fund is coining, the “UNperfect parent,” focusing on ways to leverage entrepreneurship and technology for modern-day parenting. Black Enterprise spoke with Nichols to discuss how the fund is assisting in this process by investing in technology that ensures that with the new family dynamic, people are still leading full lives.
Marlon Nichols (Image: Cross Culture Ventures)
As we know, black women are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs, so how are we starting to see this represented in the household paradigm shift?
We didn’t focus [the report] necessarily on black or white men or women, we looked at it more from the perspective of parents are getting younger, and the younger generation, in particular, millennials, are very comfortable with technology, particularly mobile phones, and also comfortable sharing responsibility with technology and with products for various aspects of their lives, so why can’t parenthood be another one of those aspects.
Specific to your point, this technology and this movement is great because there are no busier people in the world then entrepreneurs that are trying to juggle all of these things and then when you throw family and children into the mix, it’s like your job of multitasking has gotten that much more difficult so it’s very, very relevant to black women and entrepreneurs.
I dived into the report and saw that there was a focus on pop culture and the way that we look at the traditional family structure. Can you talk a little more about that?
Yeah, so if you go way back to the ’60s, this is when the traditional family was a mom and a dad, or a male and a female, and they were raising children. The father would go out to work and then the mom would stay at home and be the caretaker, managing the entire household and would put an apple pie on the table.
Things started changing. There was a war and a lot of the men went off to war, so women still had to provide for the children and the household and they still had to do all those other things. The war was over, men came back and the women were like, we’re not staying home anymore.
Then you started seeing interesting things like men staying home, while women went out to work and then the LGBT community started growing and they wanted the right to adopt or birth children and raise them as a new kind of family structure.
These are some of the things that we looked at and said this has some real legs to put investment dollars behind.
Speaking of investment dollars, what are some of the investments that Cross Culture Ventures has put their money toward to ensure that this technology gets out there and is assisting in the ‘UNperfect parent’ scenario?
We highlight three in the report:
Wonderschool, a software platform that enables stay-at-home parents to turn their homes into daycare and preschool facilities.
Yumi, a baby food delivery service. They do all the meal planning, they send it to you, you get it at your doorstep and basically, you just feed your kid what they’re providing you. They are planning to be the online destination for anything that’s good for your child.
Thrive Market, a company that allows you to eat well for a lot less, so all the products that you’d find in Whole Foods, you can get on Thrive Market’s website for anywhere from 25% to 50% of what it would cost you in a Whole Foods. The idea here is that irrespective of where you live or what your social status is, you should be able to feed your family well.
This is just the beginning of several reports that Cross Culture Ventures plans to release in forthcoming months showing us where they are placing their resources.
Watch the video below to find out more about where the focus will go from these leading industry experts.