Black-Led Tech Startup Receives VC Funding From Diddy and LL Cool J

“For me, it is really important to tell a new story, change the face of what success looks like,” said Forethought Co-founder Deon Nicholas.

When Deon Nicholas launched his company Forethought, he set out to change the landscape of artificial intelligence. Now the tech entrepreneur is receiving support from the likes of Diddy and LL Cool J. According to Forbes, the company has raised $17 million in Series B funding.

Nearly three years ago Nicholas, a former Dropbox engineer, teamed up with engineer Sami Ghoche for the creation of Forethought. The company has developed a tool called Agatha which merges artificial intelligence and natural language processing to help businesses predict issues that may arise over time in an effort to provide better customer service. Through the power of AI, Forethought has solved over half a million claims.

Nicholas says the company was created to redefine artificial intelligence. “Agatha is able to figure out when new problems start to arise and how to respond to them by listening to how [human] agents are responding,” he said, according to the news outlet. The Harvard Business Review reported Black founders receive less than 1 percent of venture capital funding. Cognizant of the disparities, Nicholas says he wants to use his journey to change the face of tech entrepreneurship. “For me, it is really important to tell a new story, change the face of what success looks like,” he said. “I’ve always been a builder, so if that’s what I can do for the world, then I’m going to do that and make waves while I’m at it.”

Several Black celebrities have made concerted efforts to invest in Black-owned companies. Comedian and mogul Kevin Hart invested in the company Ellis Island Tea. The brand—which was founded by Nailah Ellis—produces an array of flavorful, all-natural handcrafted teas made with herbs. The Black-owned vegan cookie brand Partake Foods received a $1 million investment from Jay-Z.


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