“I discovered I was Black when I landed in the US five years ago.”

“I am a Black male immigrant and I run Interlace Ventures, a Black led VC fund dedicated to Commerce Technology”. I sometimes surprise myself by saying these words.

As shocking as it may sound, I discovered I was Black when I landed in the US five years ago.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not about identity recognition, I embrace my African heritage and proudly display it.

It’s more a sense of belonging to a group, a community which outlines were conceptual to me before. Evolving now in a communitarian social contract, based on historical divisions, changed the concepts in a cold tangible reality. …


The stage is set.

“Black swan”, and a looming Ground Zero.

“Uncharted territories”, “unpreceded times”, a 7 billion people 24/7 live audience…for more than 3 months. And for the first time, a relatable experience for 4 billion people (and counting).

We all adjusted. Local or online shopping routines, streamed gym sessions, family facetime, webinars, digital medical visit, collaborative white board brainstorm session, zoom happy hours,…. Not talking about the frontliners who deserve reward, respect and recognition, especially when among them we count some of the most vulnerable people…

New habits are maturing more or less silently in time of WFH and social distancing. Will we really use the bread machine in 2 months? …


Networking. A place where strategy embraces serendipity. The neophytes will aim for quantity, play elbows to get a 2 min “discussion” with the main speakers and hopefully a “LinkedIn connection”. And a pile of business cards that may end in unanswered emails and a messy card boxes. Sounds familiar? For anybody who had to use his pilgrim stick to open a new market, it probably does. (easy tip: private societies / clubs can ease the task here.).

Beyond the bravery and the experience of vulnerability that sharpens the padawan, and somehow counter-intuitively, one should rather shoot for qualitative discussions delivering actionable contacts. …

About

Vincent Diallo

Vincent is a managing partner at Interlace Ventures an early stage venture fund dedicated to technology for the commerce world.

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