Ariel Investments is launching its first-ever private investment firm, which will initially focus on making middle-market companies certified minority-owned enterprises.
The first initiative of Ariel Alternatives will be called "Project Black," which "will have a mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses," Ariel said Wednesday in a news release.
"Project Black will forge a new class of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. The initiative will seek to position these companies as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies — supporting supply chain diversity," the release said.
Ariel co-CEO Mellody Hobson along with Leslie Brun are the co-founders of Ariel Alternatives. Mr. Brun will be its chairman and CEO and will lead Project Black. Mr. Brun founded and is the former chairman and CEO of investment manager Hamilton Lane.
J.P. Morgan Chase "has committed up to $200 million to be co-invested alongside Project Black for future transactions," the release said, part of the bank's "previously announced plan to invest $30 billion to advance racial equity."
"Project Black plans to focus predominately on health care, industrial, media and marketing, outsourcing, manufacturing and packaging, technology, transportation and logistics, and financial and professional services," the release said.
The advisory affiliate of Ariel Alternatives "plans to invest in existing middle-market standalone companies and corporate divisions in the middle market that are not currently minority owned, as well as existing Black and Latinx-owned businesses, with $100 million to $1 billion in revenue," the release said, adding that it will initially look for six to 10 investments.
This story was published by Crain's Chicago Business, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.