Kwame Anku, founder and CEO of Black Star Fund, discusses his life lessons and experiences leading a business startup that has helped make successes of other business startups
Kwame Anku recalls talking to the father of Jeff Bezos and asking him what one thing he offered his son that made the Amazon founder such a success. “Your kids have to see you do what you’re teaching them,” came the reply.
By that rule, Anku had a good role model. His father grew up in Ghana in a house with no water or electricity. After coming to the United States, Vincent Anku worked and saved enough to go to college and earn a medical degree. Dr. Anku’s Cleveland, Ohio, medical practice would eventually grow to two offices with eight full-time employees.
The silent lessons his father had to impart along the way did not go unnoticed by his son, Kwame Anku. “It was only three-and-half years ago that I was walking around Sacramento with a laptop, no fund, no money for the fund, with this crazy idea. And to think, now, we are where we are. We got the portfolio that we have; we got the stature and the respect, and a position of leadership nationally and internationally.”
What drew Anku to venture capital “was more a mindset around solving problems than it was of how we can triple investment here, how could we get X return here. That wasn’t how my mind was hard-wired. My mind was always hard-wired around solving problems.”
And solve problems he did for many African American innovators with a great idea but no capital. The Black Star Fund he co-founded is now one of the nation’s most highly regarded capital funds, having in its portfolio some businesses it backed now making $10 million a month.
“The one piece of advice that people who have had success share is not to quit,” says Anku. “No matter how hard it gets, if what you are doing is adding value and making people’s lives better, if you stay the course and don’t give up, at some point it will start to work.”
In this 37-minute podcast, Anku also discusses:
- Which musical hero had the biggest influence on him and why
- The proper role of government in fostering a healthy economy
- His favorite example of California’s heavy regulatory hand
- Why the old dichotomies of big business versus small business and boss versus worker are over
- And. the two forces all successful businesses have.
Click the arrow below to listen to the NFIB California podcast with Kwame Anku. Click here to listen to all past NFIB California podcasts. NFIB thanks Five Star Bank for its sponsorship of this podcast.