Calling all Investors

I am thrilled to see VCs come out and commit to putting capital behind women and Black entrepreneurs.  We can all hang our hats on this and champion change.  But here’s the thing.  Why do they need to create a separate fund for that?  Why aren’t they each making a conscious decision in their own funds to back women, Black, Brown, and Latino founders?   Why can’t they just look harder to find the founders who fit their thesis that are strong entrepreneurs with smart businesses?  Why does it have to be separate?

Many female VCs got on to the bandwagon of supporting women when the #MeToo movement became front and center.  Why weren’t they championing their funds to support these women in the first place?  Words are bullshit action is real.  We don’t need to read about everyone’s new actions on Twitter high-fiving each other when the work should have been being done all along. 

We are seeing the same thing again with Black Lives Matter.  Certainly, there will be new funds with new faces launching funds dedicated to Black founders just like we saw for Female founders but why are staid firms creating separate funds to show their commitments when they have millions under management?  

All institutional investors should be making a commitment on the funds they already have. Commit to putting a certain percentage of the fund to invest in females, Black, Brown, and Latino founders.  It isn’t that hard. They are out there. They might not be sitting at your front door so dig deeper. Many don’t feel so comfortable knocking on your door.

I didn’t see many women or Black investors making an all-out effort to write checks to women or Black founders until it became a front-page issue.  That has been the problem all along.  Every female and Black person I know is happy to see the separate capital and the organizations being built to highlight the need to change but come on.  They all want to be part of the regular everyday investments because they are sharp founders not because of their gender or skin color.  

VCs need to take a look at their funds where millions and sometimes billions of dollars have been raised and put a stake in the ground on the firms’ thesis that they will be active in finding those founders and make sure that a certain percentage of their funds capital will go to those founders and that includes LP’s expecting this commitment too.

In the end, it is the returns on those founders that will prove that diversity works. For what it is worth, the data is already there.