An Update on our Fund Values & Commitments
Just over one year ago, sparked by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis was thrust into a national moment of reckoning about racial justice. The conversations spanned a range of industries, including our own lens of venture capital and tech entrepreneurship. A number of local organizations pledge local commitments (and Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal just published an update on them).
As part of BLCK VC’s #BeTheChange, we are publishing our diversity metrics for 2020 publicly and have made a donation to HBCU VC to support the next generation of venture investors. We hope you will join us at the “Be the Change” virtual event next week on June 25th at 1:30pm CDT. You can learn more and register to join here.
In June 2020, we published our team’s fund values and commitments toward tangibly working to ensure a more diverse and inclusive portfolio, pipeline, and ecosystem. We believe that investing in diverse teams directly correlates to better financial return. It is core to our values and core to success all around. Here is an update on those commitments:
- We had pledged to publicly report the diversity metrics of our fund on an annual basis. Our founder breakdown today, of all companies in Fund I and II, 22.5% include a Black founder, 25% South Asian/Asian founder, 17.5% Hispanic/Latinx/Chicano founder, 5% Arab/Middle Eastern/North African. 46% include a female founder and 2.5% include a founder who identifies as non-binary. There is some overlap between these categories. This includes founders, not all management team members. (At this same time last year, the numbers were 13% Black, 15% South Asian/Asian, 10% Latino. 33% included a female founder).
- Building out additional support via our platform, including resources around anti-bias, diversity, equity and inclusion resources. This is currently in progress and we work with all our teams during onboarding and throughout the post-investment period to strategize on diverse investors to connect with for their next round to hiring best practices.
- We are carving out a portion of our management fee to financially support organizations that support Black founders and organizations that align with our values and culture. In the past year, we have donated to Silicon Northstars, the nonprofit founded by our GP Mary Grove, to help youth from economically underserved communities in MN excel towards futures in tech. We contributed to The Minneapolis Foundation’s Fund for Safe Communities. We have donated to local organizations Minnestar and Beta.MN who we believe align closely with our values.
- When invited to speak/be on panels we will only agree to participate where there is diverse representation, and we will help organizers recruit speakers with more diverse perspectives if needed. We have held true to this and we have averaged one speaking engagement per week over the last year.
- Changing the face of venture capital requires contributing to supporting a diverse and talented pipeline. We are committed to having diverse perspectives and diversity within our interns, and as we may grow our team in the future. We believe that internships can have a strong impact on the next generation of venture capitalists if we make sure we’re helping to open doors and expose future leaders to VC early in their careers. Our first full-time intern joined us this week — we’re so excited to welcome Anaa Jibicho to the team!
Over the last year, our key learnings are that representation matters; having a diverse team directly correlates with more diverse deal flow. We have learned that having an open front-door policy drives more diverse deal flow; each member of our team does open office hours each week (you can book them here) and we have met dozens of diverse founders in this way and just closed a new investment in a company we met through office hours. This is still a work in progress. We remain earnestly committed and open to feedback, ideas, and suggestions. We’re here to learn and work hard and help be part of the new face of venture capital.