Meet Vencapital’s 3rd Class of Minority & Female VC Fellows

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In the spirit of solidarity, I stand with my Black Americans brothers and sisters to mourn the recent killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and to recognize the indignity and injustice Christian Cooper and many people of color still face in America today. I will have to be honest and acknowledge that as a Nigerian studying in the US, I can not pretend to fully understand the pain of structural racism and systemic injustice that many of my friends and colleagues have lived with all these years even though the color of my skin may suggest otherwise.

The truth is as a native born Nigerian, while I may not have experienced racism growing up, I have spend a great deal of time (including my entire undergraduate studies) learning about black history, and speaking up about the various forms of systemic injustice and oppression that African Americans continues to face today. That said, my share identity of being black while in America, is also a thing of pride that has brought me closer to my black friends and colleagues and continues to inspire my search for ways to best address the underlining problem of racial inequality in America.

Despite having a social policy major with no finance background (but a lot of motivation) I was fully persuaded and wanted to prove that funneling more diverse fund managers into the venture capital industry would eventually lead to increased access to capital for underrepresented founders, factoring in current makeup of the venture capital workforce. So I started speaking to venture firms across the country as early as 2018 to hire minorities as interns/fellows within their firm. This clearly at the time would only sound like a novel idea that clearly does not fit the recruitment model of most VC funds. So to prove out this thesis, I started Vencapital and set up shop in Boston were I saw the need for more VC and angel investing programming that can help minorities overcome the barriers of institutional racism and unconscious bias that deny them a sit on the table.

Since launching in spring of last year we have served more than 30 VC fellows that leveraged our program to learn about venture financing and grow their investor network. Our growing network of VC mentors from across various firms, also allow us to match underrepresented founders with investors across the board. For a space that is constantly evolving, I lean on the shoulders of great minority focus funds and programs including; HBCUvc, Diversity VC, Venture University and many other organizations and funds that help advance this mission. I hope we can see more venture partners stepping up and walking the talk. In the meantime let’s show some support to these aspiring black and female fund managers.

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Jame Appiah-Pippim

Investment Focus Area

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Joshua Howard

Investment Focus Area

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Kymberlee Hill

Investment Focus Area

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Olu Ibrahim

Investment Focus Area

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Anthony Obi

Investment Focus Area

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Clarissa Buckley

Investment Focus Area

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