Cornerstone is an angel investment network focused on investing in businesses owned and run by black founders. With this focus we aim to increase diversity in business and remove barriers to funding for individuals from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the UK business market today.
Uniquely, our network was formed entirely by individuals who are of African and Caribbean decent, as such our primary focus on sourcing black businesses to invest in comes from a desire to give back to the black community and to promote collective endeavour
amongst the African and Caribbean diaspora.
That being said we believe that great ideas, wherever they come from, each deserve an equal chance at success, so we do not restrict our pipeline based on ethnicity and we judge each funding request on its own merit.
Cornerstone’s humble beginnings were little more than a group of 6 guys connecting over a whatsapp group chat, sharing friendly banter and ideas for how they could collectively do something positive for themselves and their community. Frustrated with the negative portrayal of black people in the media, as well the number of violent offences against blacks in police custody, which at the time were garnering a lot of attention on social media, our founders set about embarking upon a journey of discovery together; none of them knew where it would end up but they all knew something big was about to happen.
Steven, Edwin, Peter, Rodney, Wil & Jude shared their first official meeting together in 2016 at Levi Roots’ restaurant in South London. It was there they decided to start pooling their funds together for the purpose of investing into both private and publicly listed companies. The idea was simple, they would invest their funds collectively allowing them to spread their risk and share their success. This strategy of collective investing has stayed with the Cornerstone group since then and is still instrumental in the way the group operates today.
Also fundamental to the Cornerstone ethos was the idea of elevating the community, this led to 2 things: 1. the creation of a philanthropic arm to Cornerstone, the Cornerstone Foundation which was dedicated to sharing 10% of the group’s annual profits to community focussed charities, (to date we have donated money to the Manhood Academy and the House of Wells). And 2. the idea that in order to impact the community we would need more people from our community involved. This sparked the growth of Cornerstone, in 2018 we grew from 6 partners to 20 partners and within a year our AUM grew from circa. > £30,000 to > £500,000 with a clear path to reaching £1m in early 2020.
Since then our core values of collective investment and empowering our community have remained the same, however our structure and our vision have changed slightly. In late 2018 we exited all our positions in publicly listed companies, intent on further growth and expansion we decided that Cornerstone Partners would become the first Angel Investor Network focused exclusively on investing in UK based businesses, owned and run by black founders.
Our mission is to empower our community whilst creating generational wealth within it.
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