Funding / Lifestyle / Startups

CarpeDM just completed an $880K, oversubscribed pre-seed round

The NoVa startup's just-closed pre-seed round brings its total funds to $1.054 million.

CarpeDM cofounders Naza Shelley (left) and Sali Hama. (Courtesy photo)

CarpeDM, the dating app for Black women and those who want to date them, just announced a huge funding win.

The Woodbridge, Virginia-based startup just completed a pre-seed round at $880,000, oversubscribing the $500,000 round it initially opened. Elevate Capital led the round, with additional participation from Virginia Venture Partners, Conscious Venture Fund, Overlooked Ventures, Forefront Capital, Pipeline Angels, Gaingels and CAV Angels. All in all, the fresh funds bring the company’s total financing to $1.054 million.

According to cofounder and CMO Sali Hama, the funds will be used to grow the team, further iterate its technology and support marketing. The startup recently hired an iOS developer and marketing manager).

“Building a talented and dedicated team is critical to a startup and we look forward to building success with our new team members,” Hama told

Over the next few months, the startup plans to quicken users’ transition from application to membership (they must complete a background check before taking part in the app), and move the majority of members’ interactions from events to the app itself. But the ultimate vision for the company, founder and CEO Naza Shelley said, goes even further.

“My ultimate vision for CarpeDM is to be the most trusted dating service in the world helping professional Black women connect to those interested in dating us,” Shelley said. “When I started CarpeDM, all I wanted was to make a better dating app. Now, my mission and passion are so much greater than myself. We have a long way to go but we’re excited by the overwhelming interest we’ve received in joining CarpeDM from singles across the country — and even internationally.”

CarpeDM has made a splash on the DC scene since its founding in 2018. In 2021, the company officially launched its app for singles in the DMV and Shelley was featured on a mural for DC entrepreneurs (not to mention how we also named it our Startup of the Year in the 2021 Awards). Currently, its also participating in the inaugural class of the Techstars DC accelerator, powered by JP Morgan.

But it has generally kept its funding details on the down low. In January, the company announced a strategic investment of an undisclosed amount from Virginia Venture Partners for customer acquisition plans (a FormsD filing from that month, however, lists a $130,000 raise). In March, the company also announced an undisclosed investment from Baltimore-based Conscious Venture Lab’s Conscious Venture Fund.

“As a Black woman founder, this is a win for underrepresented leaders who are often not given the same opportunity and support to build great companies in the tech space,” Shelley said. “I am grateful to our investors who not only believe in our mission but also respect us as businesswomen and see the huge market opportunity in what we’re building.”

Companies: CarpeDM

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