New $160 million fund taps historically black universities, aims for gender parity



ImpactAlpha, May 17 – It’s well known that startups run by women and people of color get less venture capital than those run by white men. Some argue that’s because the ranks of investors lack diversity. Jyoti Bansal, founder of tech unicorn AppDynamics and John Vrionis, former partner at Lightspeed Ventures, have launched Unusual Ventures with $160 million in investor capital. They will take a more inclusive approach with seed stage investments, when capital is increasingly scarce, the founders argue.

  • Gender lens… Unusual Venture’s founding team is comprised of three men and three women and it aims to maintain gender parity as it grows.
  • Limited Partners… Investors include two historically black universities, the United Negro College Fund, Ivy League colleges and other non-profit institutions.
  • Startup academy… Startups in the program will be offered convertible notes of up to $1 million and serve as a pipeline for future investment.

Unusual Ventures has so far made four investments, Forbes reports. Social impact is not a specific target for the firm.

A previous version of this post gave incorrect work histories for Jyoti Bansal and John Vrionis. The article has been corrected.

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