The Co-Investors of the Anti-Bias Fund
March 2, 2021 | Ashley Brindamour
An important factor for Alumni Ventures in putting together the Anti-Bias Fund portfolio is our pool of co-investors. We are strictly a co-investor, following established lead investors into rounds. That means we don’t negotiate terms or take Board seats, giving us more time to source promising deals. It also gives us the latitude to put together highly diverse portfolios since we follow investors who have expertise in a sector.
An increasing number of venture firms are making diversity part of their investment strategy. Like Alumni Ventures, they recognize that diversity not only benefits society but can make good business sense. A number of our portfolio founders from underrepresented backgrounds have attested that they have to work harder and achieve more just to be in the game. All that grit and determination is poured into their startups.
Today, we wanted to turn the spotlight on some of the VCs who have been our co-investors in deals backing diverse teams or companies fighting systemic bias.
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.
Ulu Ventures makes minority investments in seed, early-stage, and later-stage companies. The firm prefers to invest in software, SaaS, fintech, and IoT sectors. Diversity is part of the firm’s investment thesis, with Ulu asserting, “Diverse teams tend to be more effective, more profitable, and more likely to outperform less diverse organizations because their backgrounds give them a wider array of tools and talent.”
We have made four co-investments to date with Ulu, including AVA. That company produces cloth filter face masks, which are 95% effective in filtering out harmful products. The President and CEO Sahithya Wintrich was born in Southern India, lived in the Caribbean, and then moved to the U.S.
Founded in 2015 by Arlan Hamilton, Backstage Capital invests in startup founders who identify as a woman, person of color, and/or LGBTQ. Backstage has a 3-month accelerator program designed to give founders the support they need to reach their next critical milestone.
We have made three co-investments with Backstage, including in Mahmee. That company is led by CEO Melissa Hanna, a Black woman. Mahmee is revolutionizing maternal and child healthcare and addressing particular challenges for women of color.
A Conversation with Holler CEO and Founder Travis Montaque
Join us on Wednesday, March 10, at 2:00 PM EST for an exclusive conversation with Travis Montaque, CEO of Alumni Ventures portfolio company Holler — one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020. We’ll hear about his inspiring entrepreneurial journey, why he turned down his dream job on Wall Street to start his own business, and the challenges and opportunities he faced as a diverse founder. You’ll also learn more about what Holler does, the impact they’re making, and where they’re heading. Click below to register.
Precursor Ventures invests in seed stage companies, typically in computer hardware, software, and business products. The firm states: “We hold ourselves to high standards in terms of the diversity of founders we back and support. We are committed to investing in founders who represent a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of gender, race, background, academic experience, and life circumstances.”
We have made nine co-investments with Precursor. One of those was in Kindest, which helps smaller nonprofits by facilitating contributions and donor engagement. The company, co-founded by a woman, helps address the needs of underserved nonprofits in bettering society and local communities.
BBG Ventures makes investments in consumer-focused startups with a female founder. The firm primarily invests at the seed and early stage, focusing on the sectors of consumer internet and consumer tech, marketplaces, commerce, media, and consumer products sectors.
We have made two investments with BBG, one in Canela Media. The company, which is minority and female owned, has developed a media platform and ad network focused on the U.S. Hispanic audience.
AVG’s Anti-Bias Fund offers a portfolio of ~20-30 venture investments that are led by a diverse founding team or feature a business model addressing systemic biases. ~20% of the fund is reserved for follow-on investments. Minimum starts at $25K. Click below to learn more.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. To see additional risk factors and investment considerations, visit avg-funds.com/Disclosures.