Home » 5 companies owned by African-American multimillionaire Richelieu Dennis

5 companies owned by African-American multimillionaire Richelieu Dennis

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Richelieu Dennis

In 1987, forced to relocate to the United States due to political turmoil in Liberia, Richelieu Dennis began his entrepreneurial journey. Operating from his dorm at Babson College, he traded in shea butter as a means of sustenance. This venture matured into Sundial Brands, emerging as a foremost skincare producer targeting black consumers. By 2017, with a vision to enrich supply chains in West Africa and other underserved regions, Dennis orchestrated the sale of Sundial to Unilever. Dennis reportedly pocketed $850 million in the deal, a sum that makes him one of the wealthiest African American entrepreneurs in the world.

Here are five ventures and brands associated with Dennis:

Sundial Brands

Founded in 1991, Sundial Brands is renowned for its skincare and haircare offerings. The company, started by Dennis alongside his mother Mary Dennis and college roommate Nyema Tubman, derived inspiration from Sofi Tucker – Richelieu’s grandmother, who was proficient with African herbs and roots. Its most distinguished brands, SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage, resonate with users globally. However, in 2017, Sundial Brands was acquired by multinational conglomerate Unilever.

Essence Ventures

Dennis is the driving force behind Essence Ventures as its founder and executive chair. An independent Black-owned consumer technology enterprise, Essence Ventures is aimed at constructing an ecosystem that addresses the cultural and lifestyle requisites of people of color. The synergy they establish among content, community, and commerce is commendable. A significant move in the company’s timeline was the acquisition of Essence Communications Inc., the entity behind Essence Magazine, from Time Inc. in January 2018. The Essence Festival is also an event hosted under this banner.

New Voices Fund

In the aftermath of Sundial Brands’ acquisition by Unilever, a new endeavor was formed — the New Voices Fund. This $100-million nonprofit organization, resulting from the collaboration of Sundial Brands and Unilever, is fervently dedicated to promoting and financially backing female entrepreneurs of color, creating a positive ripple in the world of business.

Group Black & Co

A brainchild of Dennis, Travis Montaque, and Bonin Bough, Group Black was instituted in 2021. With an ambitious vision to revolutionize media ownership and investment, Group Black & Co is all set to redefine the media landscape.

New General Market Partners

Venturing into the financial side, Dennis initiated New General Market Partners LLC in 2016. This venture capital firm embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Dennis, further reinforcing his commitment to fostering business growth and opportunities.

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