By Bria Suggs
The Paragon Group is a private equity company that has two funds: one for investing in businesses, while the other is for investing in real estate. The founder, Armond Davis, believes that women and minority-owned businesses have been historically undervalued and created The Paragon Group as a solution.
Davis believes that in attempting to bridge the gap of access for minorities, more businesses and communities will thrive as a result. With a background in finance and entrepreneurship, Davis hopes to pass on the knowledge from his personal experiences to new business owners.
He bought a stucco repair business in his late twenties without any experience in the industry. He dealt with a partner who backed out and the 2008 recession. Despite those challenges, the company grew into a construction management company that various other companies were born from.
With his experience as a founder, operator and investor of businesses, Davis launched his own private equity firm in 2020 to help women and minority business owners “achieve their dreams and unlock their potential” while also diversifying the private equity industry.
“Private equity and real estate investment are two of the least diverse areas of business in corporate America,” Davis said. “Less than 2% of real estate investment fund managers [are minorities]. And I think for private equity, I think it’s less than 4%.”
Less than 9% of real estate investors in this country are Black, according to zippia.com.
Davis also truly believes in the ability of women and minority business owners. He hopes that The Paragon Group can begin to change the way that other private equity firms give out funding.
“The data says that minority founders outperform their majority counterparts [in an] apples to apples comparison,” Davis said. “So, the reality is that if you aren’t investing in minority and women owned businesses, you’re actually underperforming, relative to your peers who are making those investments.”
While The Paragon Group is seeking out women and minority-owned businesses, it isn’t seeking out companies from a specific industry. To Davis, what matters most is an owner’s mindset. If a business owner possesses all the traits that The Paragon Group is looking for, then Davis begins to evaluate their business.
Founders who receive funding from The Paragon Group will be expected to participate in the Founder’s Mentoring Program, where they will pass along some of the information they’ve learned to others who are also looking to start their own business.
The mentoring program is required, and those who do not complete it will lose their funding. Davis sees the program as a way to pay forward valuable information to continue to close the access gap. In his experience, minority businesses not only lack access to capital, but also guidance and mentorship.
Since The Paragon Group was founded in 2020 and launched in 2021, the firm has yet to make a formal investment in a company. However, they are open to companies anywhere in the continental United States.
In the future, Davis would like for The Paragon Group to be “the most influential investor of minority and women owned businesses in the country.” He also wants to make the firm completely remote to make it easier to work with founders outside of Georgia.
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