Dealflow | June 8, 2020

Andreesen Horowitz and Softbank launch venture funds for diverse entrepreneurs

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, June 8 – Venture capitalists have long been criticized for funding mostly white, male founders. Just one percent of venture-backed founders are Black. With racial justice thrust into the national spotlight, some of the largest VC firms are starting to take action.

Andreesen Horowitz launches donor-advised fund for diverse entrepreneurs. The Talent x Opportunity, or TxO, fund will combine seed capital with a 10-month training program it describes as an “accelerator for the unseen.” The donor-advised fund was seeded with $2.2 million from the firm’s partners. A16z’s co-founder, Ben Horowitz, and his wife, Felicia, will match up to $5 million in further donations. TxO is managed by a16z’s Nait Jones, who has written about his own run-ins with police.

The firm says the fund will support “entrepreneurs who did not have access to the fast track in life but who have great potential” (see, “Investing in racial justice by shifting narratives, power and capital).

Investing in racial justice by shifting narratives, power and capital

Softbank creates $100 million fund for entrepreneurs of color. The Opportunity Growth Fund will focus on Black and Hispanic founders. The fund came together within 24 hours, Softbank’s Marcelo Claure told CNBC. “We spoke to Masa Son about the privilege that we see at SoftBank, being one of the largest tech investors in the world, and we needed to do something big about it.”

SoftBank will forego management fees and reinvest half the gains into diverse entrepreneurs. Stacy Brown-Philpot of TaskRabbit and Paul Judge of Atlanta-based TechSquare Labs will sit on the investment committee.

Go deeper. The Black Founder list from People of Color in Tech includes nearly 250 Black founders that have received venture capital backing… Candide Group’s Jasmine Rashid compiled “The financial activist playbook for supporting Black lives.”