When a company goes public, the company offers its stock to the general public. While institutional investors (like banks) buy up the bulk of a company’s shares, everyday mom and pop investors also get to add these stocks to their portfolios. Over the past century, the companies that have gone public have had the same type of leadership—white men. This begs the question: are there any Black-owned publicly traded companies?
Black-owned publicly traded companies are rare but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In fact, here are five publicly traded companies that are Black-owned and deserve to be celebrated.
Carver Bancorp, Inc. is the publicly traded holding company of Carver Federal Savings Bank, which is considered the “largest black-owned financial institution” in the United States. Carver Federal Savings Bank was founded in 1948 by M. Moran Weston, who was an Episcopal priest.
Since its founding, the company has had an interesting series of changes. In 1982, Carver merged with Allied Federal Bank. In 1986, it officially became a federal savings bank and changed its name to Carver Federal Savings Bank. And in 2004, it acquired Independence Federal Savings Bank.
Today, Carver Federal Savings Bank, the underlying business of Carver Bancorp, Inc., offers a wide range of financial tools, including online banking, deposit and savings products, and business and commercial lending. The company’s market cap is currently $44 million and the company’s share price has risen an astounding 675% in the last year as of June 9, 2021.
The current President and CEO is Michael T. Pugh, who is a Black man.
Compass is the newest Black-owned publicly traded company. Founded by Robert Reffkin in 2012, Compass is a licensed real estate broker that provides software to real estate agents. Compass employs more than 20,000 agents who earn a percentage of the selling price and give 15 to 30 percent on each sale to Compass. They specialize in high-margin, luxury homes in upscale markets.
Since its founding, the company has raised a series of big funding rounds. For example, in September 2018, Compass announced $400 million in Series F funding at a valuation of $4.4 billion. The round was led by Softbank Vision Fund and Qatar Investment Authority, which controls Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Compass has also received tons of accolades, such as Crain’s Fast 50, Inc. 5000, and Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work.
Compass IPO’d on March 31, 2021 at $18 a share and the stock price has decreased about 26% since its IPO date as of the writing of this article.
Founded in 2012 by Dr. Herriot Tabuteau, Axsome Therapeutics develops and commercializes therapies for the management and treatment of pain and other neurological disorders. Through development of therapeutic options with novel mechanisms of action, Axsome is transforming the approach to treating central nervous system (CNS) conditions.
The company went public in 2015 and the stock price has enjoyed a handsome increase of 600%+ since then. Dr. Herriot Tabuteau, who is Haitian American, continues to serve as the CEO and Chairman of the board of directors since their founding.
RLJ Lodging Trust
RLJ Lodging Trust is a real estate investment trust company (REIT) founded by Robert L. Johnson, America’s first Black billionaire and the founder and former CEO of the BET Network. RLJ Lodging Trust owns a portfolio of 101 hotel properties located in 23 states and Washington, D.C. Most of the properties are in or near major urban areas.
RLJ Lodging Trust’s hotel brand affiliations include Residence Inn, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn/Hampton Inn & Suites, Embassy Suites, DoubleTree, Hilton and Hyatt Place. The company is now being led by Leslie D. Hale, who is Black.
Since its public listing in 2011, the stock price has declined 9%.
Urban One is a media conglomerate founded by Cathy Hughes that targets African Americans. As a then-recently divorced single mother, Hughes purchased the radio station WOL-AM in 1980. She then purchased WMMJ a few years later. Both acquisitions supported Urban One’s (then Radio One) strategy of purchasing smaller radio stations and refocusing them to better serve the Black community.
Urban One is considered to be the largest distributor of urban content in the country. Its brands include TV One, Radio One, CLEO TV, Reach Media, and more. Radio One went public in May 1999 and changed its name to Urban One in May 2018. The stock price has increased 300% this year.
Are these good investments?
While it’s tempting to dish out investment advice in today’s day and age, we can’t tell you if any of these companies would make sense for your investment portfolio. We encourage you to do your due diligence and read their financial reports, assess their product strategy and leadership, and decide if these stocks would enhance or help you diversify your portfolio.
And even if you decide not to invest, it doesn’t hurt to give a round of applause for these Black-owned businesses that have weathered the storm and become publicly traded companies. 👏🏾