Equal Ventures
4 min readAug 14

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By Rick Zullo, GP & Co-Founder at Equal Ventures

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For the last few years, the Emerging Manager Circle (EMC) has been an immense influence on my life. As someone who grew up outside of traditional venture circles, the process of launching a venture fund was daunting. I didn’t have mentors who were willing to show me the ropes, I just had an irrational belief that Equal Ventures was something that founders needed and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my career building it.

As we launched into that journey, I found myself leaning on the support of my peers, folks who had started (or were starting) VC firms. What started as a casual support group modeled after some of the concepts from Jerry Collona’s Reboot, became the Emerging Manager Circle. Today, the EMC includes over 500 emerging VC fund managers from around the world. We collaborate with each other on Slack, we attend virtual events monthly and we work within smaller, intimate peer circles to help each other learn, grow and develop as firm leaders. As someone who was always hungry for more mentorship, this group has been a blessing to me, guiding me with the mentorship of my peers through the trials and tribulations of our first years as a firm.

Last year, we hosted the 1st Annual Emerging Manager Circle Summit. In 45 days, we pulled together sponsors, a venue, some incredible speakers and sent the signup out to the EMC group and a handful of LPs we knew. It sold out to a group of >200 emerging managers and LPs in the first 72 hours and ultimately developed a waiting list that was hundreds long. The event was 100% free to ensure that we could focus on quality, diversity and meritocracy, not profiteering from our peers.

This event felt deeply personal to me as someone who had interacted with so many within the group over the pandemic, but never had met many of the members in-person. As an emerging manager attempting to build a firm that officially launched two weeks before COVID, the individuals in the group were some of the only folks who could truly understand what I was going through. Being able to gather with so many of the people who had helped me and our firm through that tough first year (many for the first time I had ever met in person), was uplifting and inspiring. I’ve always said that I benefit from the group more than anyone else, but I believe a lot of others felt the same way.

This year, we’re bringing the band back together on 10/25 in NYC with a lineup that is simply incredible. While all the content is confidential and off-the-record (sorry folks), the confirmed speakers include some of the greatest firm builders and leaders in the market including (but not limited to) Mamoon Hamid of KPCB, Josh Kushner of Thrive, Roger Ehrenberg of IA / Eberg Capital, Alexa von Tobel of Inspired Capital, Semil Shah of Haystack, Kanyi Maqubela of Kindred Ventures, Byrce Roberts of Indie.VC, Harley Miller of Leftlane Capital, Ade Ajao of Base 10 and Harry Stebbings of 20VC. We’ll also have a case study on First Round Capital featuring Josh Kopelman, Hayley Barna and Molly Fowler. We’re in the process of confirming more guests (including plenty of LPs, too) for what should be a memorable event.

Part of our mission with EMC is to democratize the process of firm building. With that, we invite anyone who is building a venture firm or investing in emerging managers to apply to join. We are capacity constrained and appreciate the intimacy of the environment, but we encourage you to apply if you are interested and we’ll do our best to accommodate as many as we can.

I’m hopeful we can deliver on last year’s success and raise the bar for future years, but none of this would be possible without the support of the EMC community, the many experienced firm founders who have mentored our group, the countless LPs who have engaged with our members and the fabulous sponsors who have supported us as partners on these events, including our co-organizers, Silicon Valley Bank and Latham Watkins, as well as our friends at Aduro and Frank Rimmerman.

Hope to see you at EMC 2023!

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