Hustle Mindset

Mielle Organics Founder Monique Rodriguez Plans To Launch An Investment Fund To Support Her Fellow Founders

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Monique Rodriguez is turning a new leaf.

Rodriguez is the founder of organic and natural haircare line Mielle Organics, which she founded in 2014. As AFROTECH™ previously told you, her company achieved early success scaling from her garage into major retailers, including Target, Walmart, and CVS, among others.

By 2021, the company had been worth over $100 million. Although this achievement stands as a remarkable milestone for Rodriguez, her path to securing investments hasn’t always been paved with ease and success. Inc. Magazine reports she bootstrapped her business for the first seven years and then shifted her attention to securing capital. However, in the process she was met with rejections and unexpected changes to term sheets. In fact, a group of investors once presented her with a $2 million deal for 40% stake in the company, which she turned down.

“I knew in my spirit that they were not the right investors, but I felt that because I wanted to continue to grow my business, I needed them at the time,” Rodriguez said during AFROTECH™ Conference 2023. “Six months later, God opened up a bigger door. Where we were able to take that first initial investment for 5 million [dollars] for 10% of my company. We were still climbing and growing at the time, so that was a protection that I wasn’t even aware of.”

Remaining patient and staying the course in the ups and downs of entrepreneurship led Rodriguez to become one of 93 Black women to obtain $1 million in venture capital funding before 2021, according to a report by Project Diane. With that financial support, she ultimately accomplished what she describes as “a dream come true” in 2023 following the acquisition of her haircare company by Procter & Gamble.

“What I want our community to understand is that this is the normal trajectory of business,” Rodriguez told AFROTECH™ after the sale of her company. “This is what business success looks like.”

Now, Rodriguez is turning her attention towards familiar territory in hopes of helping other founders in their quests to fund their business. Per Inc. Magazine, she announced plans to launch an investment fund during an event curated by the Female Founder Collective.

“I want to be that person I didn’t have in this space,” Rodriguez said, according to Inc. Magazine. “I didn’t realize how hard it is to actually raise money. It’s extremely hard, especially being a Black woman and not having the experience, and not having the resources, access, and mentorship.”

At the time of this writing, it is not clear when Rodriguez plans to officially launch the investment fund or the logistics around the intended amount.

 





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