By Riley Kaminer
Today marks the launch of the Miami-based investor syndicate Rezilyent Capital. Led by Jeanine Suah, an X in Residence at fintech Brex, the syndicate will focus primarily on investing in early-stage companies led by nontraditional and diverse founders.
Startups tackling issues related to the future of work and community-building will be of major interest. This also includes the human capital, human intelligence, and EdTech sectors. With checks starting at $50k, Rezilyent Capital plans to invest in companies between the pre-seed and seed+ stages.
Suah told Refresh Miami that she is excited to leverage her network to give diverse founders a leg up. “Diverse meaning diversity of thought, as well as underestimated founders, who hold a special place in my heart,” Suah explained. She cited the example that less than 3% of VC funding goes to black founders or female founders.
Suah hopes to attract 1,000 investors by the end of the year, each investing a minimum of $1,000 per check – making Rezilyent a million dollar fund. But going forward, Suah expects that investors will commit an average of $4,000 per year. She hopes to offer a minimum of one deal per month, noting that she already has some deals lined up thanks to her extensive network of founders.
Investors need not be accredited. She hopes that this will expand the opportunities for a new breed of investors to get involved – investors that are just as non-traditional as the founders of the companies they’re investing in.
The origins of the fund can be traced back to Suah’s background in socio-linguistics, and her work teaching students their second language. (Rezilyent is the phonetic spelling of resilient.)
“There are a lot of parallels between how a learner acquires a second language and how a first time founder interacts with the language around VCs,” she said. “We see very similar things physiologically, mentally, and emotionally. That happens with founders because they don’t belong to that particular group.”
However, just like a second language learner who powers through, so can new founders and investors find success through resilience. “They’ll figure it out by any means necessary, and the trigger that could do it could be something as simple as just translating it to a language that they understand so that they can participate.” In this sense Suah is acting as an interlocutor, connecting these parties and bringing value to both.
While this fund is separate from Suah’s work at Brex, there are certainly some synergies between the two. She noted that through her role at Brex, Suah comes into contact with a large number of founders – some of whom might be relevant for Rezilyent Capital.
The syndicate will mostly invest in US-based companies, at least initially. But Suah has not ruled out investing in other countries with vibrant tech ecosystems such as Brazil. Nor has Suah forgotten her roots. Much to the contrary, she expects a significant amount of Rezilyent’s dealflow to come from our region.
“I really want to empower entrepreneurs in Miami and also Florida.”
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