Meet Adeyemi Ajao -- He Just Led the Largest Debut Ever for a Black-Led VC Fund
Base10 Partners on Monday announced the launch of a $137 million fund -- the largest venture capital Black-led fund to date -- which will invest in early-stage startups that will use AI to change industries by empowering workers instead of automating them out of jobs. The fund is headed by Managing Partner Adeyemi Ajao, who is of Nigerian and Spanish descent. Before Base10, Ajao had a successful career as an entrepreneur and investor, including co-founding Tuenti (the “Spanish Facebook,” which was acquired by Telefonica in 2010 for $100m) and Identified, and he was a founding investor in Cabify (the largest ridesharing company in Latin America currently valued at more than $1 billion). Ajao joined Workday as part of the Identified acquisition and was responsible for Technology Strategy and in particular Workday’s efforts in Data & Applied AI. As an angel investor, Ajao has participated in more than 40 deals including companies like Dollar Shave Club, RelateIQ, Jobr, Instacart, and Reflektive. He also volunteers with CODE2040 which tries to create access, awareness, and opportunities for gifted Black and Latino engineering talent. He holds a Master’s from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and also holds a J.D. in Law and an M.S. in Economics from Icade University in Spain. Base10 will back companies in industries like real estate, construction, waste management, and logistics -- what Ajao calls “automation for the real economy” and “solving problems for 99 percent of people.” The initial Base10 fund will not focus on investment that supports African or Latino founders as a primary directive, but it is being led by Ajao, who believes Silicon Valley has an elite bias. “Do we feel a little bit of a responsibility? Like … ‘hey, you should help Silicon Valley be more aware of global issues.’ Yes,” Ajao said. “I try to spend a lot of time meeting with founders that either look different or are trying to make it here.” More here.