Office Hours: I’m the Managing General Partner of a $20 million dollar venture fund and studio that invests in Black entrepreneurs. I’m Kathryn Finney. AMA!Featured

Hi everyone!

I’m Kathryn Finney and I’m the Managing General Partner of Genius Guild, a $20 million dollar venture fund & studio that invests in Black entrepreneurs building scalable businesses that serve Black communities and beyond.

Before Genius Guild, I was the founder and CEO of digitalundivided, a groundbreaking social enterprise focused on creating a world where women own their work. Our pioneering research, “#ProjectDiane”, drew widespread buzz for disrupting the dialogue around women of color and tech entrepreneurship in the US.

I founded and led The Budget Fashionista, the pioneering lifestyle media company that led me to become a style correspondent on the TODAY Show, Fox and CNN, as well as a published author. It also was the reason for my first successful startup exit!

I’m a Yale-trained Epidemiologist and the author of the upcoming bestseller "Build the Damn Thing: How to Build a Successful Company When You're Not a Rich White Guy". The book just launched last week and the reviews have been astounding. It’s the business book that I wish I had as a young woman starting my founder journey.

I’ve been awarded and received numerous features including the Echoing Green fellowship, Eisenhower Fellowship, Entrepreneurs Magazine’s “Woman to Watch”, Grace Hopper ABIE award, Marie Claire’s 10 Women to Watch, Ebony Power 100, Black Enterprise “40 under 40” list, and more.

Ask me anything about venture capital, entrepreneurship, being a board member, starting a business, or anything else!

ElphaStaff's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much for joining us @kathrynfinney!Elphas – please ask @kathrynfinney your questions before Friday, June 17th. @kathrynfinney may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
claramota's profile thumbnail
Hi, Kathryn, being an investor you sure have a lot to say to entrepreneurs! Please share with us what are the industries, and verticals that you invest in, and if you invest in women whatever is ethnicity...and what stage do you invest and what do you consider important to close a deal?
kathrynfinney's profile thumbnail
Hi @claramotaThanks for the question! At Genius Guild, we like to invest in high-growth companies by Black women entrepreneurs and founders. We invest at the pre-seed level in companies that use technology to restructure, rethink, and rebuild how capital flows and is accessed in US Black communities, as well as companies that are using innovation to improve the health and wellbeing of these communities.
latressa's profile thumbnail
hey there @kathrynfinney i am always proud of your success. you've always been so giving of your support, advice and guidance. i have several interests but for this forum id like to ask your thoughts on seeking advisory/director roles on boards. im currently wrapping up a fellowship with athena alliance and its been great at helping me get a board cv done. im seriously considering what my nexts are as i seek a board director/advisor role. how best to you seek out companies or opportunities? what are some of the things that you look for when you are searching for a role? share anything you'd like about your experience (thank you!)
nancymaher's profile thumbnail
@kathrynfinney Amazing to hear all you have achieved. I am curious to hear your perspective on...what makes a great leader, who inspired you, and what was the greatest feedback you ever had? Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others.
kathrynfinney's profile thumbnail
@nancymaherGreat question and I could talk about this all day! My biggest influence has always been my dad.What makes a great leader: You need a clear understanding of what you’re good at and what you aren’t. This is a crucial component of getting yourself prepared to be a leader. Taking an honest, hard look at yourself will help you be able to anticipate where there may be some difficulties, so you’re prepared to seek help. It will also uncover strengths that can be useful for you as you build your company. The challenge with conducting self-assessments is that they are rarely completely accurate. However, self-assessment is still useful as a way to help you, the entrepreneur, think through how your strengths and weaknesses can impact your business. This analysis is a living document, so you can always be conscious of your skills and weak spots. I like to use a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis, a decision-making tool used by many consulting firms and corporate advisors. We all have blind spots. Some of us are very aware of our strengths but tend to overlook our weaknesses. Others see threats everywhere but don’t notice opportunities. The SWOT analysis forces you to think critically about all four areas so you can gain a realistic view of the factors that might help and hurt you.
nancymaher's profile thumbnail
@kathrynfinney awesome - and ditto - this is an area I could talk about all day. Love hearing your perspective and thanks for hanging out together on Elpha.
stephaniecn's profile thumbnail
Hi Kathryn! 1. Who are some up-and-coming Black founders/entrepreneurs to follow who are lesser known now but you think will be big soon?2. Your career is amazingly impressive! What is something you wish you knew or had done earlier in your career?3. If we really knew you, what would we know about you (that's not listed above)?Thanks!
chaunteeclark13's profile thumbnail
@kathrynfinney Hi Kathryn! I am interested in starting a business, but I'm finding it hard to set the time aside to really get things going as I'm a single parent of two. Do you have any advice on how to keep the ball rolling so that I can continue to make progress?
kathrynfinney's profile thumbnail
Hi @chaunteeclark13 First off, Congratulations! I suggest you get a copy of Build The Damn Thing - in there you’ll find all the tips and advice you need. To keep things rolling, It’s really important to find time for you. I also find meditating and swimming brings me a lot of clarity. I can’t wait to see what you build!
chaunteeclark13's profile thumbnail
This was so helpful! Thank you @kathrynfinney💕💕
talealimi's profile thumbnail
Hi Kathryn, amazing profile you have got! Do you back black founders outside the US? Specifically in Africa?
kathrynfinney's profile thumbnail
@talealimiThank you! At this moment we do not invest in any founders outside of the US but hope to one day! I have big love for Africa as I used to live in Ghana! 🇬🇭