Sycamore: a community fixing the funding gap for underrepresented founders

Or, my coping strategy for listening to the least interesting excuses for why venture capital consistently misses the brilliance of women, people of color, and people who have other or multiple marginalized identities.

If you know me, you know that I am sarcastic, opinionated, and generally deeply frustrated with inefficient systems and willful ignorance. I’ve dedicated my life to solving issues of underrepresentation in tech, and I’m totally jazzed to announce a new initiative I’ve launched with two cofounders I met at my first startup job out of school.

Despite that start, we’re anything but a Silicon Valley cliche: we’re all women with multiple minority identities, and over the bull$#!%.

We’ve just launched Sycamore to a wider audience, and are excited to share it with you. What is Sycamore, you ask? For now, it’s a community and newsletter that aims to solve the funding gap for underrepresented founders. We’ll do that by lowering the barrier to entry for folks interested in learning about early-stage investing. Already interested? Sign up for our newsletter.

The Problem

It all started with a sarcastic Facebook comment.

My cofounders and I have a serious, underlying frustration with the fact that women, people of color, LGBTQIA folks, and others are de facto locked out of the formal funding mechanisms in Silicon Valley. How utterly absurd that, — based on the industry’s current funding practices — only a tiny subset of demographic groups have great business ideas!

There’s multiple layers to this problem:

  • Many VCs lack the lived experience necessary to understand the value propositions of underrepresented founders
  • Much of the ‘how to’ of venture capital is passed down through direct relationships and tribal knowledge.
  • Many investors lack the impetus to adjusting their practices, and frankly
  • Most investors don’t understand the value of that kind of portfolio diversification.

The system is fundamentally broken. Something something disrupt.

Our Solution

We need more early-stage investors who look like the founders we want to fund, and investors who understand the value being left on the table. Our aim is to create maximum access to the knowledge of investing, and to connect amazing founders with funders who believe in their vision.

Our goal is simple: bypass the existing, broken systems that aren’t serving the market as they should, and help the people who are interested in closing the opportunity gap make money in the process.

Wanna help?

We’re looking for new subscribers, people who can share their knowledge, and great resources to share.

  • Subscribers: Ideally, our subscribers either currently have (or expect to have in the future) funds to invest or a company that will be looking for funding. Sign up.
  • Knowledge: We include an interview with someone interesting in every issue. Should we interview you or someone you know? Get in touch!
  • Resources: Know of a great explanation of anything in investing or others doing great work in this space? We want to know about it, and share it with our readers.

Seriously, subscribe.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Or, get in touch at We’d be thrilled to hear from you.

Like this, and want to read more? Sign up for our newsletter. Or think about hitting that little ❤ button below, sharing, or following my writings here. Check us out on Twitter at @hellosycamore and me at @adblanche.