The numbers don’t lie. Entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs are being overlooked when it comes to venture capital. Of all venture funding in 2020, only 2.3% went to women founders, and less than 1% of all venture funding in 2020 went to Black founders. While there are hundreds of venture capital firms that invest in a wide array of startups, only a few have made investing in diverse entrepreneurs a part of their investing philosophy. Here are 10 venture capital firms that invest in diverse entrepreneurs.
Backstage Capital invests in companies led by underestimated founders, including women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ founders. They’ve invested in 150+ companies so far, and their support goes beyond investment. They also provide mentorship and virtual office hours to get feedback and help on your business and pitch deck.
Harlem Capital (“HCP”) is a venture capital firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse entrepreneurs over the next 20 years. While they invest in founders from all backgrounds, they are committed to reserving capital for investments in minority and women founders.
The Hillman team is dedicated to operating an inclusive entrepreneurship education program. They serve underrepresented tech-driven startups through mentorship, specialized curriculum, partnerships, and capital investments–providing them the resources and guidance they need to scale.
Hillman is the first accelerator program in the Midwest providing support exclusively to underrepresented demographics. The founder, Candice Matthews Brackeen, is passionate about bringing people from varying backgrounds together to accelerate innovation.
Impact America Fund makes early-stage investments in tech-driven businesses that create new frameworks of ownership and opportunity within marginalized communities. They also help founders get traction with institutional investors, who often don’t have the expertise or lived experience in these communities to appreciate the huge opportunities at hand.
They invest primarily from Seed to Series B, and they focus on companies that are growing quickly, with demonstrated traction in a $1B+ market, and make investments in the range of $250K to $3M.
Lightship Capital funds underrepresented innovators and regions typically excluded from meaningful access to mentorship and venture capital. They invest in early stage companies led by BIPOC, LBGTQ+, women, and people with disabilities who operate in the CPG, E-Commerce, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, and Healthcare spaces.
Overlooked Ventures supports founders who operate early-stage technology companies who are historically overlooked and provide them capital, resources, and connections to scale their business. The founders of Overlooked Ventures collectively have startup experience, strong access to deal flow, and 12+ years of startup and investing experience.
Founded by Lo Toney, a former partner on the investment team at GV, Plexo Capital is a global venture capital investment firm that invests using a hybrid model exclusively into the venture capital asset class. They invest globally in emerging venture capital fund managers and early stage venture-backed companies. Plexo’s tagline is “Diversity Is Not Just Good Progress. It’s Good Business.”
Precursor Ventures was founded on the belief that all entrepreneurs, regardless of background, benefit from having an institutional investor to help them scale and grow their company from the very beginning. They have built their firm on the premise that helping entrepreneurs get started and scale will be their life’s work. Precursor mainly invests in seed stage startups and they don’t have requirements for traction or metrics.
Founded by Maria Velissaris, SteelSky Ventures invests in companies that improve access, care, and outcomes in women’s healthcare. They invest across the spectrum of women’s health indications and in technology infrastructure that supports new and innovative care delivery models. They also support founders with educational programming, curated mentorship, and strategic partnerships.
Zane Venture Fund invests in diverse entrepreneurs building early-stage technology companies in the Southeast with a pre-money valuation or cap under $10MM with early traction, whether it’s dollars or data. They’re industry agnostic and like to invest in financial technology, cyber security, education technology, supply chain, internet of things, and health/wellness technology.
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