Apple announced the investment on Wednesday as part of its plan to allocate $100 million to address racial equity and justice.
CEO Tim Cook originally announced the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative in June as one of a number of corporate reactions to civil unrest following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The funding will be coming over the next two decades and help Harlem Capital with its goal of investing in 1,000 diverse-led businesses in 20 years.
“We’re always trying to get capital in the hands of people in proportion to the population,” said Jarrid Tingle, managing partner at Harlem Capital, in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Thursday.
The firm currently holds 21 investments across 11 cities and nine industries. Forty-three percent of the companies are exclusively women-led, while 47% are led by Black or Latino CEOs.
According to a 2020 Crunchbase Diversity Spotlight report, Black and Latino founders represented only 2.6% of the total $87.3 billion in funding toward the end of 2020, despite the dollar amounts increasing every year.
Tingle, however, remained optimistic that the tide is turning.
“The time will come,” Tingle said. “The challenge is they weren’t really getting these opportunities until about 2013 or 2014, so they never had the opportunity to get to the point where they would go public.”
While some experts point to a pipeline problem, Tingle said that is not something he faced in identifying diverse-led companies. When Harlem Capital launched an investment search, they found 200 women-, Black- and Latino-led companies that had independently raised over $1 million.
“Our bet at Harlem Capital is that backing these entrepreneurs will help them build companies, generate wealth, hire diverse people and then reinvest when they’re successful, and that is happening,” said Tingle. “But we also believe you can’t be what you don’t see.”