Business / Finance / Funding / Hiring / Venture capital

Money Moves: Nike invests $500K in Black Girl Ventures

Plus, fundraising news for Fluence Energy, ClassEDU, Nisos, Caveonix and more local tech companies. Some are hiring, too.

Black Girl Ventures founder Shelly Bell. (Photo via Facebook)

Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at

Nike is investing $500,000 into D.C.-based Black Girl Ventures, the corporation announced on Friday.

BGV was founded in 2016 by Shelly Bell as a multi-city event series that’s part pitch competition and part crowdfunding campaign for Black and brown women entrepreneurs. This funding comes as part of the $40 million, racial justice-minded NIKE, Inc. Black Community Commitment launched in June 2020 amid national protests against police brutality.

“Imagine launching a company from your living room in Southeast D.C., where 30 women threw money into a hat to fund Black women founders then becoming a nationally recognized organization,” Bell wrote in an email newsletter to the BGV community. “That was the beginning of Black Girl Ventures. We have reached 64 countries, over a million people, funded 120 women directly, raised over $3M, and our founders support $10M in jobs.

“I feel emotional right now but I also feel like I am moving on purpose,” she said of the Nike funding. “As a team we feel a lot of responsibility — the Black Girl Ventures team doesn’t take this responsibility lightly. We are honored.”

In November, BGV won second place and $125,000 as part of the Goldman Sachs Gives initiative, which lets Goldman Sachs’ current and retired senior employees pitch and recommend grants for underserved startups to the company’s CEO.

Below, check out a slew of other funding news we spotted over the past few weeks.


Just before the close of 2020, Arlington, Virginia’s Fluence Energy announced it has raised a whopping $125 million from Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

“We believe the global problem of climate change can only be tackled by leveraging the combined capabilities of technologists and investors from around the world,” said Fluence CEO Manuel Perez in a statement. “We see energy storage as the linchpin of a decarbonized grid and adding QIA to our international shareholder base will allow Fluence to innovate even faster and address the enormous global market for large-scale battery-based energy storage.”

The deal means the energy storage systems developer is now worth over $1 billion — a unicorn. Check out several open engineering roles on Fluence’s site.


ClassEDU, the pandemic-founded startup from Blackboard’s Michael Chasen, has raised $30 million, according to the Washington Business Journal. The company has made no public statement on the raise. WBJ reports that Owl Ventures participated in the raise.

ClassEDU launched in September and created its edtech software product, Class for Zoom, as a response to difficulties with remote schooling. The platform adds some everyday capabilities for educators, such as taking attendance, curating quizzes and grading.

The startup is hiring for a number of developer roles.


Alexandria, Virginia-based Nisos, which provides managed intelligence services to security, intelligence, and trust and safety teams, has raised $6 million. The funding round was led by Paladin Capital Group with existing investors, Columbia Capital and Skylab Capital, and will allow Nisos to expand its operations and international footprint, per a Wednesday announcement.

Along with the funding news, the company also announced the hire of David Etue, who brings 20 years of security experience and most recently worked as global head of managed security services at New York’s BlueVoyant. Nisos, Etue said in a statement, “has a unique position in cybersecurity with its distinctive approach merging managed intelligence with powerful investigative techniques.”

Nisos is currently hiring for an Alexandria-based intelligence services program manager, as well as a client success director and enterprise account executive, both remote roles.


Caveonix, the three-year-old Falls Church, Virginia-based cloud company that makes a digital risk management platform, raised a $7.3 million Series A, it announced Tuesday. The round was led by First In Capital and will support market expansion and strategic partnership development.

“Our goal at Caveonix is to accelerate digital transformation for our customers by providing them the continuous monitoring and compliance they need in hybrid and multi-cloud environments,” said co-CEO Tim Sullivan. “This industry continues to evolve, and Caveonix will evolve with it, offering the risk management solutions needed to secure cloud-based environments and mitigate risks. We feel fortunate to have the ability to move forward more rapidly thanks to this round of funding.”


Other funding news from around the region:

Companies: Black Girl Ventures / Nike

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