First Boulevard, a neobank focused on the Black community, has raised $5 million in a seed funding round joined by Barclays.
Anthemis and angels such as Gabrielle Union, John Buttrick and Jamere Jackson joined the round for First Boulevard, which has set itself the goal of helping Black America build generational wealth.
First Boulevard is one of several digital banks - including Tenth and Greenwood - that have emerged in recent months as The Black Lives Matter movement has led to a renewed focus on America's wealth gap and the financial services industry's role in it.
Founded by serial entrepreneurs Donald Hawkins and Asya Bradley, the startup is building a platform that offers fee-free debit cards, financial education, a Black business marketplace which gives its members cashback for buying Black, and technology to help members automate their saving and wealth building goals.
First Boulevard is a Visa Fintech Fast Track partner and was recently unveiled as the payment giant's partner for the first pilot of its new suite of crypto APIs, which will enable customers to purchase, custody and trade digital assets.
Says Hawkins: "History has proven that oppressed communities can succeed when their finances are centralized, and when it comes to financial services for the Black community, a centralizing force is long overdue.
"After viewing yet another tragedy engulf the Black community, and the all-too-familiar protests against persisting issues, it was beyond clear to me that the solutions Black America needs must be financially-focused and developed within our community."