Here is this week’s biweekly edition of The Pursuit newsletter, which brings the latest news and commentary about small business and entrepreneurs straight to your inbox on Wednesday mornings. Click here to get on the newsletter list!
In recent news, Forbes launched its eighth annual list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, a ranking that spotlights the entrepreneurial success and the fortunes of the 100 richest, most successful women in business.
Of the 100 list members, 38 are worth less than in 2021, but 51 are richer, including 7 newcomers and 7 women who return to the ranks after having previously fallen off. One newcomer to the list is fashion entrepreneur Paige Mycoskie, whose brand Aviator Nation took off during the pandemic as TikTok teens embraced the Venice Beach vibe by snapping up its pricey $160 smiley face sweatpants and $190 retro-looking rainbow-striped hoodies. Every piece of Aviator Nation apparel is sketched by Mycoskie and hand-made in a California factory. Sales increased from $70 million in 2020 to $110 million in 2021, and the brand is projecting at least a doubling of that figure by 2023.
Also new to the list is artificial intelligence whiz Lucy Guo, the cofounder of Scale AI, which she started in 2016 with Alexandr Wang. Guo debuts thanks to a nearly 6% stake in Scale AI, which was valued by private investors at $7.3 billion in 2021. Guo and Wang made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018, the same year Guo left the artificial intelligence firm. She cofounded early-stage venture capital firm Backend Capital in 2019 and in April this year launched Moment, which she describes as a “Web3 platform for creators.”
Another newcomer to the list is Emma Grede, the first Black woman to serve as an investor on ABC’s Shark Tank. She is the CEO of Good American, the size-inclusive fashion brand she launched with Khloe Kardashian in 2016. She is a founding partner and chief product officer of Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims, of which Grede’s husband is CEO. Grede also founded marketing agency ITB Worldwide in 2008.
To see the full list, click here, and to meet the newcomers, click here.
How Two Africans Overcame Bias To Build A Startup Worth Billions
A pair of twentysomethings from Uganda and Ghana thought there was a fortune to be made bringing transnational financial services to Africa’s 1.2 billion people. With 5 million users, San Francisco-based Chipper Cash is just getting started: The company has so far raised $300 million from a roster of blue-chip VCs, most recently in November at a $2.2 billion valuation.
Key quote: “I’m a deep believer in the role of entrepreneurship and capitalism in improving the lives of people who live in developing countries.”—Ham Serunjogi, cofounder and CEO of Chipper Cash
In other news, Forbes released its seventh annual Fintech 50 list, which features 25 newcomers. Crypto companies and startups trying to make banking cheaper and more accessible for small businesses made a particularly strong showing. Check out the trailblazers who make up this year’s most innovative startups in personal finance, investing, payments and crypto.
Latina superstar Jennifer Lopez recently announced a new partnership with nonprofit Grameen America, which provides loans, financial literacy training and credit-building to low-income women. The actress will help mentor the organization’s network of more than 150,000 women-run small businesses in Latino communities. She’ll also help Grameen further its goal of providing $14 billion in loan capital to some 600,000 Latina entrepreneurs by 2030.
A burgeoning ecosystem emerged for startups during the pandemic, with some 380 out of every 100,000 U.S. adults becoming new entrepreneurs each month in 2020 alone, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. If you’re looking to grow your business, consider performing an audit of competencies among your employees to narrow in on the skills you’re missing. In order to attract the best talent, create a hiring rubric, prioritize diversity and offer remote work. Here are six best hiring practices.
Struggling to set the right price for your products? Forbes Contributor Rhett Buttle offers five approaches, like premium pricing and bundled offers, to help small business owners maximize profits. Psychological pricing—like placing cheaper or edible goods within reach of the checkout line—has also been proven to boost sales.
A new venture capital firm called The General Partnership raised $240 million for a fund the company’s founders say will be used to back startups over more long-term periods. The young firm is bringing services to its clients that many VCs wouldn’t offer until they grew bigger, adopting a new approach that the founders say is working—but with limitations.