Milky Way Tech Hub to launch $50 million fund to invest in tech companies owned by minorities

Last updated on June 25th, 2020 at 02:18 pm

Milwaukee-based software company Jet Constellations is launching a $50 million dollar fund through its social impact arm, The Milky Way Tech Hub. A main focus of the fund will be to invest in tech companies owned by people of color and other underrepresented individuals.

The new fund is being launched in partnership with New York-based company IP Zone Co., which spun off from American Express into an information technology and services company.

The fund will invest in “scalable tech companies that have substantial intellectual property and a willingness to relocate or invest and partner with Milwaukee and its citizens,” a press release states.

Several tech companies in the 5G, artificial intelligence and internet of things spaces have granted exclusive rights to the fund and recently a “top 5 automotive company” has agreed to invest in the new fund, Jet Constellations chief executive officer and Milky Way Tech Hub founder Nadiyah Johnson said in a press release.

The Milky Way Tech hub hopes to transform Milwaukee by leveraging public and private capital to benefit an inclusive group of entrepreneurs. The new fund, however, will require “strategic collaboration at the city and state level,” Johnson said in the release.

“The Milky Way Tech Hub believes that on a level playing field where there is equal access to capital and resources, technology and innovation can serve as vehicles to improve the socio-economic conditions in our urban areas,” Johnson said in a statement. “While technology now plays a role in almost every aspect of daily life and business, according to a study led by Silicon Valley Bank only 1% of Black businesses are backed by venture capital further widening the digital divide and the vast economic disparities that presently exist.”

Johnson launched Jet Constellations’ Milky Way initiative with a focus on transforming Milwaukee into a tech hub representing the city’s diverse population. The organization also works to bridge the digital divide in the city by getting local business owners to consider how their company can become tech-enabled.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.