False Dichotomy: Q&A on AVG’s Anti-Bias Fund
January 12, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
Since we launched AVG’s Anti-Bias Fund at the start of January, we’ve received about $1M in commitments. Thank you to all who have supported this fund. We’ve also received inquiries from prospective investors. We appreciate the enthusiasm, engagement, support — and the questions.
We realized that other interested investors might have some of the same questions, so we’ve gathered them below, along with our responses.
New Anti-Bias Fund Open
The Anti-Bias Fund offers investors a portfolio of ~20-30 venture investments that are led by diverse founders/teams belonging or featuring a business model addressing systemic biases. Click below to review fund materials, along with case studies on AVG portfolio companies that demonstrate the kind of investment we might add to the Anti-Bias Fund. You can also book a call with a Senior Partner if you have questions or want to learn more.
Why does the Anti-Bias Fund only co-invest?
AVG is a co-investor across all our funds, so this leverages our core skills and strengths. Importantly, ABF deals are vetted and approved investments from other actively managed funds, selecting those deals that also meet the thesis of our fund. So the investment is actually a direct commitment to the company from an actively managed AVG fund and a second commitment through ABF, increasing the runway for ventures we back by providing additional capital.
You’re investing in companies with a diverse founding team or a business model addressing systemic bias. Can you give me some examples?
We’ve actually made three investments in the Anti-Bias Fund so far, though two are still not public. The third is CodeSignal (CS), a company that is speeding up the technical talent assessment of candidates for engineering and programming positions. CodeSignal is tackling the biases plaguing the hiring process through an interview platform where non-technical HR employees can conduct a real-time, bias-free coding assessment of a candidate’s technical capabilities — reducing resource constraints for companies. In addition, CodeSignal has already become the de facto standard to certify programming skills, with over 50% of CS grads nationwide obtaining a CodeSignal assessment score to put on their resumes.
Who determines what goes into the Anti-Bias Fund and how are deals selected?
Once an AVG sponsor fund has approved and committed to a deal — which meets our criteria for acceptable risk-reward — the fund proposes deals for the Anti-Bias Fund that they think might be a good candidate. Our 7-member Focused Fund Nomination Committee makes the final determination on whether the opportunity fits with the fund thesis. Additionally, the investment must contribute to portfolio diversification across stage, sector, geography, and lead investor.
If a company in the ABF portfolio is doing well, might the fund invest in a follow-on round?
Yes, and in fact we reserve ~20% of the fund for follow-ons.
Join our many upcoming Anti-Bias Fund webinars for opportunities to learn more on how to do good and do well by backing diverse founders/teams.
- Introduction to the AVG Anti-Bias Fund
- A Conversation with Mom and Baby Healthcare Innovator Melissa Hanna
- The Challenges and Opportunities in Diverse Investing
- Meet the Portfolio: Conversation with Three Companies Backed by the Anti-Bias Fund
What is AVG doing to help companies once an investment is made?
As noted, AVG is open to evaluate participating in follow-on financings. Additionally, AVG has a full-time Portfolio Services team that is dedicated to assisting our portfolio companies. We offer strategic customer and partner introductions, help source talent, direct teams to advisory resources, and publicize their progress. Given that we have a network of 550,000 alumni supporters and subscribers, we like to say, “we’re one LinkedIn connection away from anyone you’d like to meet.” Our investors can also step up when we share asks from our portfolio companies.
What are AVG’s other diversity initiatives?
Venture Fellow Program: A part-time program for young professionals looking to get a foothold in the industry, giving them both education and experience. Over 85% of our incoming Fellows identify as being part of an underrepresented gender or race/ethnicity. In addition, 28% of our current cohort are first-generation college students. Since inception, ~250 Fellows have completed the program, and ~40% work in VC, entrepreneurship, or a related industry.
10K Entrepreneurs: A nonprofit that provides stipends to undergrads building their own venture or experimenting with an internship at an entrepreneurial startup. We have reserved 50% of grants for underrepresented groups.
AVG’s VentureCorps: An AVG employment program that offers students a chance to work for us in a variety of positions during a gap year. We deliberately seek a diverse group of participants.
AVG’s Anti-Bias Fund offers a portfolio of about 20-30 venture investments that are led by a diverse founding team or feature a business model addressing systemic biases. Approximately 25% of the fund is reserved for follow-on investments. Minimum starts at $25K. Click below to learn more.