In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Lorenzo Thione, Managing Director of Gaingles (https://www.gaingels.com), an LGTQ equality centric venture capital syndicate.
Lorenzo is a serial out gay entrepreneur, venture capitalist, writer, Broadway producer, and LGBTQ non-profit founder. Born and raised in Italy, he moved to the United States to attend college in Texas focusing on computational linguistic artificial intelligence. He co-founded his first start-up business right out of college and it’s been the entrepreneur’s path ever since.
Thione is the Managing Producer of Sing Out, Louise! Productions, the co-founder and CEO of The Social Edge, and a Managing Director at Gaingels (https://www.gaingels.com), a venture investment group based in NYC focused on investing and supporting LGBT+ founded/led startups, and socially responsible companies focused on supporting LGBTQ equality. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, technologist and venture investor, Lorenzo is the co-creator/co-book writer and the lead producer of Allegiance, the 2015 Broadway musical starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. In developing Allegiance, he developed and deployed social-media viral strategies that led to the astounding growth and unprecedented awareness and audience engagement for both George Takei and Allegiance’s social media platforms, and – in turn – to the founding of The Social Edge, a social media management and marketing firm based in NYC. His producing credits include The Inheritance, Slave Play, Hadestown (Tony Award), Cher Show, The New One, Catch Me If You Can (Tony Nomination), and American Idiot. Additional IMDB credits: George Takei’s Allegiance (Director, Executive Producer), Bandstand – The Boys Are Back (Director, Executive Producer), Allegiance To Broadway (Executive Producer).
Besides being an active investor in the LGBT+ startup ecosystem via his position in Gaingels, Lorenzo is a founding board member and Chair Emeritus of StartOut, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship within the LGBT community. A native of Milan, Italy, Lorenzo holds an M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has co-authored several publications in Software Engineering and Computational Linguistics. He is an active investor, advisor, or board member, in over 80+ startups and a named inventor on over 30 pending and issued patents in the US and worldwide.
- 01:45 Lorenzo Thione provides a brief introduction
- 01:50 Introduction to StartOut
- 03:30 Introduction to Gaingles, the largest LGBTQ focused venture capital syndicate
- 05:50 The journey to entrepreneurism
- 08:30 Entrepreneurism is not a passion. It is a disease.
- 10:30 Surround yourself with a support network11:00 Having a co-founder(s) can balance and round out the experience
- 11:30 Parinoid-optimist and projecting the reality you desire
- 13:00 Perception is reality
- 14:30 Failure is an experience of learning
- 15:30 Mentors and Peers
- 16:30 Ways to be involved with Gaingles
- 17:00 Description of companies Gainles invests in today as a venture syndicate through venture lead rounds: (1) LGBTQ owned (founders), (2) LGBTQ leaders in C-suite, (3) LGBTQ equality value-aligned companies
- 22:30 How social responsibility investing positively impact companies with an example of a negative impact with business reputation and customer trust lead to reduced financial performance
- 23:45 Gaingels has grown from investing about $4-million 4 years ago to about $20-million in 2019 and just surpassed $50-million in investments in this year (2020) alone.
- 24:00 Is there any chance companies are using Gaingels as window dressings like Pinkwashing investing?
- 32:00 Early stages mean greater impact
- 35:00 Lorenzo’s tip for LGBTQ startups
Connect with Lorenzo on OutBüro at: https://www.outburo.com/profile/lorenzothione/
Join Lorenzo on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/