Launching the Black Founders Network

Creating Successful Black Founders

Watch on demand

Event overview

Join us for the official launch of the Black Founders Network (BFN), a new initiative developed by University of Toronto Entrepreneurship to create an inclusive community for Black entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey. This is your first opportunity to learn about the BFN, intentionally built with the Black community, to enable aspiring and existing Black founders to launch, fund and scale impactful startups. This will be accomplished by providing the right mix of capacity building, capital, and guidance for each stage. BFN core values include fostering allyship, mentorship and sponsorship to nurture and celebrate Black excellence across U of T’s three campuses.

Consistent with BFN’s mission, the theme of this launch event is Creating Successful Black Founders. The conversations and panel sessions will explore how we can achieve this through the lens of the young and experienced Black entrepreneurs, investors, and the community organizations.

Keynote remarks will be provided by Michael Seibel, Managing Director of Y Combinator, one of the earliest and most successful startup technology accelerators not only in Silicon Valley but around the world.  Michael brings years of lived experience and entrepreneurial success that will inspire and inform our community. 

Keynote Speaker

Managing Director of Y Combinator

Michael Seibel 

Michael Seibel is the Managing Director of Y Combinator. He moved to the Bay area in 2006 and was co-founder and CEO of from 2007 – 2011 and the co-founder and CEO of Socialcam in 2012. Socialcam sold to Autodesk Inc. for $60M in the fall of 2012. In 2014, became Twitch and under the leadership of Emmett Shear and Kevin Lin sold to Amazon for $970M. In 2005, he graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Black Founder Roundtable

Founder, Fyyne

Jeffrey Fasegha 

Founder/CEO Mommy Monitor

Elsie Amoako 

Founder, Nobellum

Melisa Ellis 

The Investor Perspective

Bryan Duarte, Co-Founding General Partner, Black Tech Capital

Giselle Melo, Founder and General Partner, Martr Ventures

Isaac Olowolafe, Managing Director, Black Innovation Capital

Melissa Allen, Chief Operating Officer, Bay Mills Investment Group

Community Partner Roundtable

Chris Thompson, Executive Director, Federation of Black Canadians

Craig Wellington, Executive Director, Black Opportunity Fund

Derrick Raphael, CEO and Co-founder, Icon Talent Partners

Gbemi Akande, Director, Capital & Venture Partners, Elevate

Olutoyin Oyelade, President, CASA Foundation

Black Founders Network Wordmark