Zane Venture Fund makes a new investment into our family of portfolio companies. Freeing Returns, a B2B Merchandise Returns Platform (enterprise SaaS) for Retailers which helps Retailers stop fraud was founded by Barbara Jones, a serial entrepreneur. Retailers use Freeing Returns as a fraud prevention and detection tool which allows them to minimize their losses due to Returns Fraud and reduce long lines by allowing customers to schedule their Returns.

Their customers use Freeing Returns as a hassle-free, mobile-based option for tracking returns and an easy way to schedule pick up and delivery of their returned items. Through our Returns…


Akshita Iyer in the kitchen

Akshita Iyer is not who you’d expect to be the founder of hardware startup Ome, focused on bringing safety and efficiency to the kitchen using smart technology. In fact, as a founder, she’s comparable to the dish Shakshuka, a combination of widely different ingredients that have no business working together as well as they do. But we’ll expand on that later.

First, we sat down with Akshita to talk about all things Ome, raising capital during a pandemic, what it’s like to start a company with your husband, mental health for founders, and so much more. Read on.

How were…


Team Zane

Zane Venture Fund Releases Annual Progress Report

About a year and a half ago, we launched Zane Venture Fund. As we head into the second half of 2021, let’s review the first six months. We are happy to report that Zane Venture Fund and Zane Access have reached some amazing milestones.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Zane Venture Fund had its first close! With this close, Zane carved out 25 LP (limited partner) spots for women investors and investors to participate with lower minimums in the wealth being created through our fund.
  • Zane Access hosted a Founders Only Night where…

Choosing the right investor for your start-up

In the world of venture capital, vetting and due diligence is part of the process. Venture capital firms have a list of things they are looking for when it comes to potential investments. VC firms often pass or do not engage with a company if it is not a good fit. Entrepreneurs should be doing the same.

Vetting potential investors is critical. Founders should take time examining investors and researching who would make a good investor in their company.

For many entrepreneurs, it can be overwhelming choosing the correct investor in a landscape that is plush and filled with options…


From left: Panoramic Ventures, TiE Atlanta, Harlem Capital Partners, Outlander Labs, Valor Ventures, Zane Venture Fund, Collab Capital

The Atlanta venture capital scene is blooming. Today Zane Venture Fund celebrates venture firm Harlem Capital Partners for their groundbreaking $134M raise. They’re changing the face of entrepreneurship and we’re proud to be in their company and community.

As a matter of fact, Harlem Capital led the pre-seed round for one of our own portfolio companies, Parrot Mob, plus Harlem Managing Partner Henri Pierre-Jacques will be the keynote speaker at our upcoming Zane Access Capital Readiness Cohort graduation. We are deeply grateful to be co-investors with Harlem and for Henri to speak to our cohort.


Family is everything at Zane Venture Fund. The fund is named after our founder Shila Nieves Burney’s daughter, Zane, who is her mother’s constant inspiration. Zane’s name originally came from her father, as it was his middle name. To round off Women’s History Month, we want to shine a spotlight on Zane and her story.

Born in Florida, Zane moved to Atlanta at a young age and calls the bustling city home. With a rich cultural history and strong ties to the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta is a city that Zane is immensely proud to be part of. Especially during…


By Zane Venture Fund team member Naomi Chao

Demonstrators at an Atlanta rally on March 20. Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

I’m half Chinese and half Caucasian, and I’ve never been the most connected to my Asian heritage. Growing up in San Francisco and attending all public schools, I had the privilege of growing up in an environment in which being Asian never really felt like being a minority. But there was always the sense that if you were mixed race, it would be better for you to lean into the non-Asian part of yourself.

Growing up in that kind of bubble, my experience is far from that of most Asian Americans. I’ve…


Martina Edwards, newest Venture Partner at Zane Venture Fund

Zane Venture Fund is thrilled to announce that long-time Board Advisor and current Chief of Strategic Partnerships at ACE (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs), Martina Edwards, will be joining our team as a Venture Partner.

She will join the investment team bringing years of experience in bringing capital to underserved communities.

Since today is the start of Women’s History Month and the end of Black History Month, we’re shining a light on the story of Martina Edwards, the first Black woman broker for Merrill Lynch to work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Martina’s career includes serving…


The Most Underrated Entrepreneurs are Not the Most Undefeated

Entrepreneurship is not the NFL. Entrepreneurs don’t peak in their 20s and 30s. There’s more than one 43-year-old Tom Brady in the league, and they’re winning Super Bowls, too.

Entrepreneurship is wrongly stereotyped as a young person’s game.

Perhaps that’s because a young Bill Gates founding Microsoft is more romantic than a 65-year-old Colonel Sanders founding KFC. Or, perhaps investors believe young people are more innovative and resistant to failure. Society in general gives younger entrepreneurs a free pass, saying “they’re young and learning, they’ll bounce back.”

But, entrepreneurship is tough…


Did you know that 50% of global Venture Capital is in the United States?

However, Black and Latinx receive only 2.6% of all VC funding. On top of that, they were completely shut out of SBA loans in 2020.

“As of August 31st, 2020 — Crunchbase found that Black and Latinx founders raised $2.3 billion in funding, representing just 2.6% of the total $87.3 billion in funding that has gone to all founders in 2020.” — CNBC

This lack of government assistance has only exacerbated the inequalities in access to financing that diverse founders were dealing with even before the…

Zane Venture Fund

We Invest In Early-Stage Companies Led By Exceptional, Diverse Teams Building Tech-Enabled Solutions.

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