Black Founder With Billion Dollar Valuation Stock Advice For Investors

  • Iman Abuzeid is one of nine black and Latina founders with a startup valued at $1 billion.
  • Her company is trying to solve the nursing shortage by reducing the hiring time from 90 to 20 days.
  • Abuzeid explains why she chooses investors who fund women and founders from marginalized backgrounds.

Since August, Iman Abuzeid has faced two major challenges.

The first was to raise an $80 million Series B funding round, which valued his startup in the healthcare careers market at $1.65 billion. This made Abuzeid one of nine black and Latina female founders whose startups have reached a billion dollar valuation. These entrepreneurs faced increased difficulty in obtaining funding because venture capitalists have historically excluded or overlooked them.

The other hurdle is the national nursing shortage, in which imbalanced staffing ratios can cause burnout, stress and frustration among essential medical staff, Insider previously reported.

Abuzeid’s startup, Incredible Health, connects healthcare networks with the nurses they need to fill open permanent positions. Unlike typical job boards – where workers apply for positions – employers apply for talent.

This dynamic, coupled with custom algorithms, cuts the typical process of hiring nurses from the national average from 90 days to 20 days, Abuzeid, co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, told Insider.

“We’re saving at least $2 million in temporary labor costs for each hospital,” she said, adding that by hiring permanent nurses faster, hospitals have saved on temporary hires. “Nurses get a 15% pay increase on average.”

Abuzeid spoke with Insider about what she is looking for in investors. The following essay, as narrated, is based on an interview with Abuzeid and has been edited for length and clarity.

I am very selective with who invests in my business

At my company, we’ve raised around $97m to date, with the majority being in 2022 when we raised a Series B of $80m.

There were a few things that set us apart and ensured that these fundraisers were very successful. I define success as being very selective about the investors we work with, having multiple term sheets, getting the terms we want, and working with the partners we want. I am not targeting investors who have not previously funded women or who have not previously funded minorities. I don’t even bother.

The proof is in the pudding – you can see their portfolios and who they’ve invested in. If they’re not women or minorities, then I’m not even going to talk to them. I also won’t engage in conversation if they come to me.

Then there are certain expertises that we are looking for, depending on the stage of the business or the tour. In the first rounds, we needed privileged investors in technologies and markets. That’s how we ended up with Jeff Jordan at Andreessen Horowitz. He is a former CEO of OpenTable, Chairman of eBay and early investor and board member of Airbnb, Instacart and Pinterest.

I tend to gravitate toward operators – James Joaquin of Obvious Ventures (which invested in Incredible Health) has built seven companies. Three went public and four were acquired. He has a background as a software engineer and CEO.

Black founders need to focus on winning

The statistics are bad and they show a real structural bias in the system. Less than 2% of female founders get venture capital funding. When you reduce it to black foundresses, it’s 0.2%, which is effectively zero.

The stats are real, and you should recognize that, but you need to move on quickly. You have to sort of mentally suppress it and compartmentalize it because you just have to focus on winning. If you dwell on it, it will cost you time and energy.

I don’t proactively address it in calls. My white male counterparts don’t expend any mental energy on this. You need to focus on assertiveness, confidence, and ambition. Clearly communicate what your vision and mission are and what you are trying to accomplish.

I also have a network of CEOs who support me. Next, professional mental health support is also important. I have a therapist and I’m a huge fan of any CEO and founder who has a therapist.


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