Last Juneteenth the Slauson & Co. team sent out an email. As was suggested in this Wall Street Journal article published this morning, it changed the trajectory of our entire firm, which at the time was called On Purpose Ventures (OPV).
It is worth elaborating on my personal circumstances for context. I’d left my job several months prior and hadn’t collected a paycheck since. I gave myself to March 2020 to have things up and running. Otherwise, I would have to let go of the idea of creating a new firm and go take a job at an established one.
By June 2020 I was out of cash and my wife was paying all our bills. I could write a whole article on her, but I’ll keep it short for now. After the social climate shifted Ajay, Karim, and I started seeing early signs of public interest in the things we’d been working toward for years.
So on Juneteenth last year we decided to send an email to everyone we had spoken with about the firm. This is the Juneteenth email that catalyzed what is now Slauson & Co. Here it is in full:
Today we are moved by the national involvement in a long overdue conversation about what it means to be Black in the United States. The perspectives and emotions long held by Black people are finally being validated as countless corporations and public figures make statements acknowledging disparities. Still, there is no doubt that substantial work is required from everyone to create a more equitable future.
Though civil rights is at the center of the national dialogue, there needs to be a parallel urgency around reversing the widening gap in economic parity — particularly for communities of color. This is and has always been the motivation behind why we began our journey at On Purpose Ventures. At OPV, we work to create accessible opportunities for wealth creation, not just for the founders of startups we back, but also for the small business owners their startups empower.
Today we are reaching out in search of potential limited partners who can act as anchor investors to our first fund. We believe that the right person (or institution) aligned with our vision would significantly accelerate our efforts. Together we would build a foundation for a firm whose outperformance will be driven by creating tremendous economic value in communities filled with untapped potential.
We are more confident than ever in the mission, the opportunity, and in our ability to find and support these founders. Our most recent deck can be viewed/downloaded here. We can set 1:1 time where it makes sense to share our latest. We are also open to connecting with others if there is someone else we should be in touch with given our goals.
Happy Juneteenth and we look forward to reconnecting!
Looking back on this, we’re blown away by the amount of support and engagement we’ve seen since. One year later, we’ve put together a $50m fund with some of the best foundations, corporate partners, fund of funds, tech investors, and executives out there. Most importantly, each one is deeply aligned with lending their networks, experience, and perspectives in service of the founders we back. This is the “& Co.” part of Slauson & Co. It’s all about the company we keep.
As we near the closing of our first fund, we are reminded that all the work put in over the last 12 months was to simply get to the starting line. We are very much focused on delivering on the promises we made at the outset of this mission.
Our focus on creating a more inclusive ecosystem within tech and venture will be backed by the decisions we make as we hire and develop processes, build trust among founders and investors, and launch partnerships that advance our mission in complimentary ways. Much like the startups we fund, we are in the midst of a lot of moving parts. Grateful for the opportunity. Looking forward to it all.