Challenger bank aimed at Black Americans First Boulevard closes $5m seed round

First Boulevard, a challenger bank aim at Black Americans, has reportedly raised $5m in its seed round.

This capital injection was supplied by Barclays, Anthemis, according to a report from TechCrunch. A number of angel investors also contributed, including actress Gabrielle Union, Union Square Ventures partner John Buttrick and AutoZone CFO Jamere Jackson.

The idea for First Boulevard came after its co-founders Donald Hawkins and Asya Bradley were discussing Black America following the murder of George Floyd. Hawkins told TechCrunch, “After viewing yet another tragedy engulf the Black community, and the all-too-familiar protests against persisting issues, it was beyond clear to me that the solutions Black America needs must be financially focused and developed within our community.”

They started First Boulevard, previously known as Tenth, in August 2020 after identifying there were just 19 Black banks in the US, jointly holding around $5bn in assets, the article said.

Upon setting up, their goal was to tap into the estimated $1.4trn spent by Black citizens in the US.

Consumers can sign up to the waitlist for the platform and get early access to its services.

Features include contactless Visa debit card, cash back when spending money at black-owned businesses, automated savings, P2P payments and two-day early access to salaries.

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