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How Black-owned private equity firm Red Arts Capital spreads the wealth from supply chain investments


When Nicholas Antoine and Chad Strader first met at the Starbucks on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, they dissected the book ‘Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?’

The book — by Reginald Lewis, the first Black man to execute a $1 billion leveraged buyout in the US — had a firm hold on Antoine and Strader, who hatched a plan together to do something few Black people have done in the US. They would start a private-equity firm.

“There really aren’t that many Black-owned investment businesses period. And 100% Black-owned private equity firms? You can count on two hands,” Antoine told Insider in an interview.

The pair founded Red Arts Capital in 2015, and is currently raising a new fund of up to $225 million, adding dollars to what is currently an extremely small pot.

Women and minority-owned private-equity firms accounted for just 6% of the total capital raised in the US in 2021, according to Fairview Capital’s annual Market Review of Woman and Minority-Owned Private Equity and Venture Capital Firms. That may be changing: Fairview reported a 25% uptick in the number of women and minority-owned private-equity firms from 2020 to 2021, with the number now totaling 627 firms in the US.

African-American investment firms are growing in number too, albeit from a relatively low starting point. The number of Black-led US venture capital and private-equity firms raising money in 2021 rose 25% from the previous year, reaching 84 firms, according to Fairview.

But just 15% of those Black-led investment firms execute buyout strategies like Red Arts — a fraction of the private-equity pie dominated by outfits helmed by white men. These figures also only include firms led by Black people, not necessarily Black-owned firms. Antoine told Insider he wants to expand that very small club.


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