I'm getting to lead operations for a game-changing start-up...
While I've served in a strategic role over the last 2.5 years, the growth structure I've always focused on was for social enterprises and nonprofits. So the pivoting and repurposing my skills to a for-profit has been a really exciting part of this journey. I met Yves, the founder of The Door, last year and we immediately connected on the need for diversity in entrepreneurship and venture capital. Underrepresented founders continue to face an uphill battle. Their startups generally receive significantly less funding and support. These founders are also asked substantively different questions by VCs and angel investors.. According to Forbes, only 2% of VC funding went to women in 2016. CNN notes that startups by Latinx founders between 2007 and 2012 received 1% of VC or angel investments. And research out of Stanford shows that limited access to capital negatively affects profits of black-owned startups 3x more than other founders.
Venture capital has a problem with diversity.
Yves and I think this is attributable to two things: 1. As VC is a very relationally-based business, underrepresented founders usually lack the access to be introduced into a firm's deal flow and 2. If they make it onto the radar, research shows that funding tends to flow into markets that investors know, relate to or can access which naturally tends to be white, middle-to-upper class white. The concept of pattern-matching guides what/who may be considered the best investments (i.e. Stanford grad, ex-Googler, etc). Because of the severe lack of women and people of color in venture capital, it's difficult to garner interest and funding for new, untapped markets and ideas. So Yves and I partnered up to create a solution that tackles the problem head on.
The Door is an insights and sourcing platform for investors and enterprises to connect with underrepresented founders. The goal is to build the strongest pipeline of viable startups founded by women, black, latinx, native American, LGBTQ, veteran, and other entrepreneurs. The Door also concentrates on underrepresented sectors and underserved locations regardless of founder background. The second objective is to give unprecedented access to a pipeline of high quality deal flow and partnership opportunities currently overlooked by many Tier 1 investors.
My Key Learnings From The Door:
1. Hustle, hustle, hustle.
2. Barriers exist--let's break them.
3. I can show you better than I can tell you! ;-)