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Unlocking Opportunities

Demystifying Venture Capital for Black Businesses

As a Black entrepreneur, how can you secure investment from the venture capital world?


09:00 - 10.00Breakfast Meet & Greet
10:00 - 10:10Introduction - Timi Okuwa, BEO Director of Partnerships and Programmes
10:10 - 10:30Opening address - Ric Lewis, BEO Board Trustee, Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer at Tristan Capital Partners
10:35 - 10:55Laura McGinnis, Balderton Capital
Tackling Biases in Fundraising that Exist for Black Owned Businesses Session plus Q&A
How to navigate bias in fundraising and identify and effectively overcome barriers.
This interactive session will support you in developing effective responses.
11:00 - 11:30Jeremy Brown, Anthemis Partners
Telling Your Story Session including Q&A
Storytelling is the pillar and anchor to every fundraising approach - how to successfully tell your company's story.
This will help you develop your pitch and to make a compelling case for investment.
11:35 - 12:30Pitch Session
Meet investors in a speed networking format to provide founders with useful feedback and connections.
12:30 - 13:00Lunch
Opportunity to network with other founders and investors.
13:00 - 13:25Chantal Cox, Octopus Ventures
Structuring your Funding Rounds
How to effectively establish, set out your milestones for your round and howto feel equipped and develop a strong and effective plan for your fundraise.
Please come prepared to put together a fundraising plan for your next round.
13:35 - 14:05Panel Discussion with Eric Collins, Host - CEO & Founding Member at Impact X Capital and Author of We Don't Need Permission (
Hear from experienced VC's on the opportunities and challenges of VC funding - what businesses should do to secure the right type of funding and is venture capital right for you.
They will also share their experiences on what good funding looks like and when.
14:05 - 15:00Wrap up - Timi Okuwa and William Samengo-Turner to close the session and networking until 15.00



Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Tristan Capital Partners

Ric Lewis is Executive Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Tristan Capital Partners, an award winning independent real estate investment management firm. In 2009 Ric founded the firm, continuing the collaborative track record he established as a former partner at Curzon Global Partners/ AEW Europe where he led the company’s expansion into Europe.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, USA, Ric was awarded the 2021 Urban Land Institute (ULI) European Leader Award for his contribution to development and real estate.

Along with his civic and social endeavours, Ric founded The Black Heart Foundation, dedicated to improving educational access and outcomes for talented, underprivileged people. He also serves on a number of Boards, including Dartmouth College; Imperial College London, The Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation; and Legal & General Group Plc.


Associate, Balderton

Laura joined Balderton’s investment team in 2022. Prior to Balderton, Laura gained over 10 years of operating experience including working for co-working space The Wing as the Director of Retail and E-Commerce. She was also Director of Product Marketing and Strategy for travel startup Away.

Before joining the startup ecosystem, Laura headed up the US women’s e-commerce business at H&M, focusing on
buying, inventory control and product marketing. Laura is passionate about youth education and wealth equity having previously worked as an early consultant for The Fifteen Percent Pledge, a non-profit organisation creating sustainable ecosystems for Black-owned businesses.

She started her career as a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay where she founded Girls Score Goals, a sports-education startup for underserved schools. Laura holds an MBA from INSEAD and a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. She speaks Spanish, paints, and occasionally performs improv at underfunded comedy clubs.


Investment Principal, Anthemis

Venture capital investor with in-depth experience in product management, energy, and deep tech. Background includes an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University, and full-time international work experience in The Netherlands, Australia, France, and the United States.

I formerly focused on early stage venture investment in industrial IoT, construction, the built environment, and deep-tech in Silicon Valley, Berlin, and London. Now I am focused on early-stage and venture growth investments at the intersection of fintech and deep-tech.



Healthtech Investor
Investment Manager, Octopus Ventures

Chantal is an Investment Manager in the Octopus Ventures Health team, and her focus is engaging with investing in and supporting Europe’s most promising health tech companies. Octopus Ventures is one of the UK & Europe’s largest and most active venture capital investors, investing across six sectors: consumer tech, B2B SaaS, climate tech, deep tech, fintech and health tech.

The Health team is the most active healthtech VC investor in the UK and in the top 1% in Europe.

Chantal is motivated by leveraging tech to drive health equity and is super passionate about investing in diverse and underrepresented founders.


Co-Head of Technology for EMEA, Allen & Overy

Will’s practice focuses on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters within the tech sector and its related industries, both in EMEA and the United States. From emerging enterprises and startups, to large public corporations, he advises some of the world’s leaders in technology on a range of issues including M&A, JVs, private fundraising, and digital transformation.

A member of A&O’s London corporate team, Will has spent considerable time living and working in Silicon Valley and he continues to split his time between London and the Bay Area.

His experience on the West Coast includes a wide variety of M&A and financing transactions for corporations of varying sizes and stages of development – ranging from seed round investments in start-ups, to major acquisitions and disposals by listed multi-national companies and he is particularly adept at navigating the challenges of transatlantic deal making.

He is also passionate about levelling the playing field for founders from minority backgrounds and has, among other things, acted as counsel to the Google Black Founders Fund for all three cohorts.


Director of Partnerships and Programmes, Black Equity Organisation

Timi is BEO’s Director of Partnerships and Programmes and leads on community engagement, partnership development, fundraising and commercial strategy development. She is one of the founding Directors at BEO leading on corporate and community partnerships to deliver better lived experiences for Black people in the UK. She leads BEO’s partnership with Sky and BEO Advisory Group to set up and deliver the F100 Growth Fund programme and is passionate about improving access to finance for Black entrepreneurs and developing a BEO Business community with a focus on building diverse
supply chain opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.

She was BEO’s interim CEO from August 2022 till March 2023 focusing on BEO’s strategy development, team growth, community engagement post the charity’s launch in 2022.

Prior to BEO, she was Director of Sistine Street working with the Department for International Trade, UCL’s Institute of Education and SThree delivering business transformation, growth strategies and partnership projects. She has worked in senior roles at EY, Deloitte and Towers Watson Perrin managing global accounts, strategic partnerships, sales campaigns and executing business growth projects. She mentors and invests in underrepresented founders and start-ups, connecting them with investments and corporate partnerships.