NYC partnership pledges $30 million to under-represented tech founders



ImpactAlpha, March 21 — New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is throwing $10 million behind a $30 million collaboration with private venture funds to back women and minority-owned tech startups. Dubbed WE Venture, the initiative is New York City’s first venture capital consortium to focus on under-represented tech founders.

NYCEDC’s partners in the initiative include WOCstar Fund, Golden Seeds Venture Fund, Future/Perfect Ventures, Archer Gray, and the Multicultural Innovation Lab at Morgan Stanley, who are collectively chipping in $20 million for the five year initiative.

WE Venture is set up as a co-investment partnership. NYCEDC’s venture partners will take the lead in identifying startup candidates for NYCEDC to invest in. “We’re relying on our VC partners to perform the due diligence efforts relating to any investments that we make,” NYCEDC’s Eric Clement told ImpactAlpha.

Archer Gray is likely to put forward media startups, for example, since the investment firm focuses on media companies presenting “diverse voices and promoting equality.”

The consortium’s sole accelerator partner, Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab, will also support the initiative’s deal pipeline. “The lab receives hundreds of applicants annually from New York based companies, many of which could be prospective candidates for WE Venture,” Morgan Stanley’s Alice Vilma said.

Startups can also apply for funding from WE Venture directly.

NYCEDC is looking for investments in the $100,000 to $250,000 range.

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