YCombinator

Black founder who went on epic tweetstorm ahead of YC demo day gets funding

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Things seem to be turning around for Matt Joseph, the Y Combinator-backed startup founder who went on an epic tweet storm ahead of demo day about the elephant room — racism and raising money as a black founder. Post tweetstorm and demo day, is receiving offers from investors for Locent, an e-commerce platform powered by text messages.

“A big reason why I did it, I was so frustrated after a series of meetings and feeling dismissed,” Joseph told me. “I wanted people to take me seriously.”

Well, it worked. In the last week or so, Joseph has had several productive conversations with VCs, some of whom have made offers.

“I’ve gotten the opportunity now to connect and meet with investors who maybe I otherwise wouldn’t have,” Joseph said. “The common theme for the investors who have reached out is they viewed it as courageous. In the face of demo day, knowing I would alienate some investors by saying it, that I would take that chance anyway. I think they’re using that as a lens of viewing myself as an entrepreneur.”

Joseph wouldn’t say how much he’s raising for Locent, but said that it would be enough to grow its team and at least double, and maybe even triple, in size. Currently, fewer than 10 people work at Locent.

Despite the positive response, Joseph says he didn’t anticipate his tweetstorm taking off the way that it did. It was targeted towards investors who might be doing research ahead of YC demo day, but before he knew it, it was all over Twitter and then all over the Internet. But Joseph doesn’t recommend other black founders looking to fundraise take his tweetstorm approach, unless they have something authentic and meaningful to say.

Joseph’s advice to his fellow founders of color: “Be transparent about the challenges you face,” Joseph said. “Don’t be afraid of expressing yourself.”