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Behind the Buyouts: Gig Wage CEO Eyes Gig Economy, VCs and Diversity

Published: December 17th, 2020
Craig J. Lewis sees a missed opportunity by venture capitalists to invest in African American startups.

Welcome to Behind the Buyouts, The Deal’s podcast where we sit down with leading private markets investors players and drill down into their buyout, growth equity and venture capital deals.

For our latest episode we’re joined by Craig J. Lewis, CEO and founder of Dallas-based Gig Wage Inc.

Lewis traced his career arc from a pro basketball player in Europe to launching a sports marketing business, moving into sales and even writing a business book before launching his company.

Nowadays, he heads up Dallas-based Gig Wage, a rapidly growing payroll services specialist for companies that use part-time workers in the gig economy.

In October, Gig Wage announced an oversubscribed $7.5 million Series A round of venture financing led by Green Dot Corp. (GDOT), a bank that provides prepaid cards for financial transactions.

Lewis said he landed the financing from Green Dot by reaching out directly to CEO Dan Henry and striking up a dialogue.

Lewis remains vocal on social issues around Black Lives Matter and sees a missed opportunity for institutional investors to benefit from savvy Black entrepreneurs, given that only about 1% of Black-founded companies win venture capital funding.

“This is just a good business decision — it’s not charity,” Lewis said in a phone call before the podcast “We see the world differently — there are profits in our businesses. This is an overlooked space where people can be making money.”

Lewis said he intentionally chose to pursue venture capital funding rather other potential sources of capital.

So far he’s met success with strong interest around a potential Series B venture capital round.

In 2012, he wrote “The Sport of Sales: How to Become a Superstar Sales Pro,” a book that tapped into his enthusiasm for the art of the deal.

While he admires Black businessmen such as former American Express Co. (AXP) CEO Ken Chenault and Vista Equity Partners LLC founder Robert Smith, Lewis said corporate America as a whole must do more to promote diversity.

Here’s the podcast:

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