Before launching RW Capital Partners, Dr. Shante P. Williams started a company she says ended as a tremendous failure.
"It was a fashion tech company and it went over like a lead balloon," she says. "For a lot of reasons, it led me to re-evaluate what my core talents and skillsets were and how I wanted to apply them moving forward."
In reflecting, she says she determined that she loved intellectual property and reading contracts. She had picked up a lot of skills and financial modeling and loved connecting with people who are building impactful things. So, from that first failure, she was able to bring those skills together to create RW Capital. It gave her the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs shoulder-to-shoulder, taking all the skills she learned in corporate and share them as tools to help entrepreneurs build their companies.
"Ultimately, I love doing what I did but I think I made one of the critical mistakes a solo founder can make which is building a company around yourself because it doesn't give you any opportunity to really grow," she says. "You can bring on contractors, you can bring on employees, but if people came into the company to work with you, they want to work with you. After literally raising my price 12 times in that firm, I was not able to really grow and scale the company."
Williams sold the business, which again led her to think critically about what it would take to scale an entire company. She partnered with two people who had health care backgrounds and one person with an entrepreneurship background to create Black Pearl Global Investments.
One major differentiator in this next venture was to recognize that those building a business need more than just advice.
"I can give you all the advice and mentorship in the world, but I can't mentor you out of needing money — money for inventory, money to pay employees. I was thinking I've helped people navigate contracts, I've helped people do this and that, but I wasn't really deploying a lot of capital. I wasn't able to write significant checks into companies."
The idea was that if she could marry advice with capital that could be deployed into companies at very early stages and at very pivotal points, then they can go further faster.
"And they don't have to search around for who's going to fund this now that I've got all this great advice," she says.
Dr. Williams spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about what she's learned launching several businesses, and how her most recent venture, Black Pearl Global Investments, is making an impact on underserved communities.