CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund Invests in Card Isle to Innovate the Greeting Card Industry

Technology startup offers personalized and print boutique-quality greeting cards

Card Isle was founded in 2013 by three Virginia Tech engineering students passionate about making greeting cards more personal, accessible and fun!

www.cardisle.com
Card Isle was founded in 2013 by three Virginia Tech engineering students passionate about making greeting cards more personal, accessible and fun! www.cardisle.com
Card Isle was founded in 2013 by three Virginia Tech engineering students passionate about making greeting cards more personal, accessible and fun! www.cardisle.com
Card Isle
www.cardisle.com
Card Isle www.cardisle.com
Card Isle www.cardisle.com

Richmond, VA, Oct. 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that the Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) has invested in Card Isle, a Blacksburg, Va.-based technology company that is rethinking how greeting cards can be distributed in a changing retail landscape. Card Isle offers turnkey solutions to design, order, and print personalized greeting cards, and will use this capital from VFF to continue their rapid growth in the eCommerce gifting sector and develop new markets.

 

Greeting cards have a unique ability to connect people of all generations, whether it is to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, or to express sympathy or gratitude. Card Isle is focused on creating a stress-free card-buying experience by making greeting cards more personal, accessible, and fun. Card Isle’s suite of personalized greeting card printing solutions are used by retailers across the U.S. and Canada, allowing consumers to customize cards online and print them on-demand at a location convenient to them. Retailers can also use Card Isle’s ecommerce solutions to cross-sell personalized greeting cards with any product ordered online.

 

“For an industry worth $6.2 billion dollars, the typical card-buying experience is pretty grim. If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time searching for the right card, but still settle on a mediocre one. Card Isle is here to change that experience,” said Adam Donato, CEO of Card Isle. “We make it possible for customers to design their

Tech Founder Hadiyah Mujhid Partners With AnnenbergTech And PledgeLA To Create Equity For Black And Latinx VC’s And Founders

In business, it takes money to make money. Yet for many Black and Latinx founders, access to capital is a barrier to entry into their respective industries. Another barrier is often access to venture capitalists who come from similar backgrounds as them, who understand them, and who believe in their ideas and businesses enough to invest in them.

According to research, only 1% of VC-backed companies have Black founders, and only 2% of firms have investment team members who identify as Black. 

San Francisco based technologist, Hadiyah Mujhid, has been solving for that equity problem as the founder and CEO of HBCUvc. Prominently known for building pathways for underrepresented investors and founders, HBCUvc has led the charge on developing the next generation of venture capital leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities through their strategic programming and partnerships. With the perspective that culture is a currency, Mujhid and her team nurture budding entrepreneurs and investors through training, coaching, mentoring, and immersive fellowships that are culturally responsive and inclusive for everyone involved.

“I like to think that our program is extremely comprehensive, and it’s culturally affirming of the identities that people bring to the space,” said Mujhid.

HBCUvc offers core programming throughout the year for HBCU students and alumni. And in the summer, they work with AnnenbergTech and PledgeLA to host a venture capital internship which places Black and Latinx interns at esteemed VC firms like Stat Zero and Crosscut Ventures.

As a part of the PledgeLA program, “We [HBCUvc] spend two weeks doing an immersive training with the fellows in LA and then they are placed with a firm for 8 weeks. During those 8 weeks, we still do one-on-one coaching support,” said Mujhid.

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Crunchbase data shows dismal funding landscape for Black and Latinx founders

Black and Latinx founders aren’t receiving an equitable share of venture capital funding, according to a Crunchbase report. The report highlights just how drastic the funding disparity is: Since 2015, the top 10 venture firms have invested in only 70 companies with Black or Latinx founders.

Black and Latinx founders have raised over $15 billion in the past five years, but that represents only 2.4% of the total VC funding raised by startups in the U.S. Yet according to the U.S. Census, Black (13.4%) and Hispanic or Latinx (18.5%) people together represent roughly 31.9% of the population.

And although the companies in Crunchbase’s database suggest a fairly equal distribution of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs — 51% and 47%, respectively, with 2% of companies having both Black and Latinx cofounders — funding hasn’t been split commensurately. Latinx founders received $9.9 billion out of the total $15.5 billion raised, which means Black entrepreneurs are missing out on even more of these already limited funds.

Crunchbase’s analysis is based on data from over 970 Black- and Latinx-founded companies that have raised venture funding — including seed, venture, corporate venture, and private equity funding — within the past five years. The company’s database includes over 650,000 companies, along with details about their investors, exits, and racial makeup. The report did not look at non-Hispanic or Latinx minority groups, nor LGBTQ+ individuals. It did include data on female founders, however. Notably, it found that 36% of Black and Latinx founders were women, compared to just 21% of white founders.

According to Crunchbase, 81% of VC firms don’t have a single Black investor. There are some micro venture firms that specifically invest in founders from underrepresented backgrounds, including Backstage Capital, Precursor Ventures, and MaC Venture Capital, but these firms exist as a minority within the greater