February 5, 2021
(updated February 21, 2021)
Published by Dennis Velco
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with AJ Mizes a career coach, leadership coach, and HR consultant.
A.J. is a talent and human potential aficionado with over a decade of experience within Career Coaching and Human Resources–and has been featured in NBC, CBS, FOX, The International Business Times, and Yahoo! News. Most recently, though, AJ left Facebook as a Global HR Leader where he supported an international team and launched many innovative leadership programs under his guidance–that are still in full swing at Facebook today. He’s supported global teams of over 3,000 people and currently serves as the CEO of The Human Reach–a human potential institute guiding high-achieving professionals to land their dream careers in record time and coaching silicon valley leaders to be thoughtful, effective leaders. His career stems from a foundation in training and development at KSL Capital, where he coached leaders on how to select, coach, and retain top talent at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury resort properties. A.J. also served as a leader @ Premier Staffing where he worked alongside well-known tech giants in organizing talent strategy and recruiting tactics. Before Facebook, AJ was the Vice President of Talent and Engagement at Sungevity—the world’s leading platform technology for residential solar—where he led an HR team that spanned across the United States.
Join me and AJ 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
February 4, 2021
(updated February 21, 2021)
Published by Dennis Velco
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Chris Rollins who is a coach for HR, people, and culture professionals.
Chris Rollins is a Leadership and Executive Coach for HR, People, and Culture Leaders, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, yet not exclusively. He does this work to deepen the commitment to his purpose: to hold safe space so that people have the courage to find and live their truth. His purpose-driven approach to coaching helps his clients connect more powerfully with who they are, what they want, and the courage to bring it to life.
Prior to working as an independent coach, he spent a decade climbing up the leadership ranks in corporate America. He started in an entry-level sales role and spent almost 8 years in various individual and leadership roles driving revenue in new business and account management. During that time, he made the largest impact coaching and mentoring people around him and building strong teams. And that’s what he loved the most.
This led him to a career pivot out of sales into organizational development to scale his impact on people and culture internally. Most recently, he was the SVP of Organizational Development for a 150 person company. As part of the executive leadership team, he was a trusted thought partner to the CEO and was leading high impact company-wide initiatives.
Join me and Chris 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
January 18, 2021
(updated January 23, 2021)
Published by Dennis Velco
In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Dëv Ramsumair, out gay entrepreneur, fashion event producer, museum curator, foster parent, and much more.
Tyler is an out sexually fluid entrepreneur who grew up with his mother being a stylist for crossdressers. The business started in their living room over 25 years ago when his mother started helping predominately heterosexual Men fulfill their desire to dress as a female. Being a bit of a high fashionista herself she helped the men pull together outfits and accessories that suited them. A few years ago mom retired. Tyler not only remained in the business he has transformed it into a fashion house and rebranded it as enFemme. In the cross-dressing and trans community when one dresses as a female it is commonly called enFemme so the name is a strong connection with its customers. enFemme caters to the unique needs of the cross-dressing and male to female transgender community to be a leader in clothing designed to fit a biologically male body dimensions while feminizing in appearance. Further enFemme has designed the industry’s widest line of body-shaping undergarments that conceal the male private parts comfortably and provide breast augmentation.
Tyler relies heavily on customer feedback to develop and hone his product lineup. EnFemme’s customers are an integral part of the full process. Valuing the community, enFemme has an extensive online resource center where site visitors can read stories on inspiration and encouragement through learning from others who share their perspectives and experiences.
Tyler is very passionate about his business and his customers. He feels great satisfaction that he and his company has a role in helping people feel confident in being their authentic self. For many it is who they identify as while for others it is fulfilling a fantasy. All are welcomed and appreciated at enFemme.
We were wanting to provide images of the enFemme products within the video but experienced a video editing bug. So visit enFemme’s website to view their full range of offerings at https://enfemmestyle.com/
Join me and Tyler 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
May 23, 2020
(updated May 25, 2020)
Published by Dennis Velco
Being an entrepreneur is challenging. The LGBTQ entrepreneur can face additional challenges that our couterparts likely won’t face such as biased limitations to captial funding to launch or grow your business, access to business mentors, hurdles to reach revenue growth due to biases, lack of strong suplier diversity practices, and so much more. This can lead to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer business owner to still in today’s time hide their true self causing yet other stresses.
Happiness is important. There are some LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have sacrificed their health, sanity, happiness, life balance, and personal relationships in pursuit of success. Like all professionals, LGBTQ entrepreneurs who are authentically happy, are those who have found a way to balance all of the various facets of their life.
Happiness matters, more than you might realize. It’s important to your physical and mental health and in your resiliency in the face of challenges and crises. Additionally, your happiness is important to the happiness of those close to you, the community at large, and the success of your business.
Are You Happy?
Do you feel you are working on supporting your big “why” that sparked your passion that sparked the idea of your startup in the beginning?
Do you feel you have quality time with your life-partner, family, and friends?
Are you taking the time to focus on your physical health – taking care of yourself?
Are you “out” in your professional life?
Would You Change?
It is often said that no one on their death bed wishes they spent more time at the office, more time marketing and pursuing customers or more time perfecting the fundraising pitch deck. Most say they wish they spent more time being present physically and mentally with those they care about.
Take a moment, now or schedule it. Take a walk and really think about this. Are you happy in all facets of your full life and if not why?
What small changes can you make to work on that? We’d love for you to comment and begin a discussion of the struggles, opportunities, strategies, and success – in happiness you have encountered. Are you putting on your busy calendar time for yourself and time with others? If not, give yourself permission to just do it.
As we are going through the COVID-19 it has added a whole other level of stresses. Things to consider putting on our calender as you can while still being safe:
Once a month catch up call with a long distant relative or friend.
Weekly or bi-weekly special date night with your life-partner – doing something that makes the day or evening special quality time to stay deeply connected. Share some ideas in the comments.
Do you have kids? Consider a board game night or other unplugged activities that allow interaction, discussion, and fun. What other ideas do you have?
Consider some alone time too – maybe that is walking around your neighborhood or parks. While walking listen to the birds and crickets, relaxing music, or even podcasts on topics you enjoy. Maybe your alone time is starting or rekindling a meditation practice. What activities work for you that you could recommend to others?
Are you involved in any local charities? If not, consider volunteering a few hours a month.
Get and stay fit. Exercising releases happy mood endorphins. With COVID-19 you might be stuck in-home workouts, but luckily there are tons of free instructional videos on YouTube with both male and female instructors.
Due to COVID-19 are you in or near financial ruin? Have you considered bankruptcy? How are you dealing with that?
If not out as a business owner, would you like to talk to others and to get their stories and support?
What resources would you recommend to others? What has been working well for you? What areas would you like to find support in?
Please share those in the comments.
Consider joining the private Out:Startups group here on OutBüro to connect with other business owners, share ideas, methods, and all tactics in a safe space where you can be yourself.
May 11, 2020
(updated May 11, 2020)
Published by Dennis Velco
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer entrepreneurs often struggle well beyond their heterosexual start-up counterparts in many areas of business. One, in particular, is raising funding in the form of venture capital and operational working capital funding to launch and grow their business. Most businesses will need to apply for some sort of working capital during their lifetime. Traditional loans are not always an option to many LGBT business owners due to the lengthy paperwork required and strict rules and guidelines, and discrimination from the staff of traditional VCs/Banks/Leading Companies/Financial Institutions who have historically favored heterosexual white males. Progress towards diversity in entrepreneur funding is happening, yet continues to be slow.
Several financial companies and organizations have stepped up to aid LGBT entrepreneurs in acquiring the capital they need to see their vision to reality and continue its growth trajectory.
We’d like to consider this an active and growing list. If you are aware of a company or organization that providing funding and capital targeting the LGBT entrepreneur, we’d appreciate you using the Contact Us form and provide a link to their primary website so that we may review their info and potentially add them the resource list below.
If you contact any of the below, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would let them that you learned about them here on OutBüro.
Note: this site does not have SSL active, yet still live.
We’re out to change the world of business finance! Founded by LGBT with a focus on LGBT and other minorities. Diversity Fund is a new business finance platform that unites rewards, lending, and equity finance provides sophisticated tools for investors to evaluate each deal and company and is fun and engaging for everyone!
Through Diversity Fund, an entirely new generation of entrepreneurs can finance their venture or expansion by immediately reaching thousands of potential investors who support their goals. Diversity Fund opens the world of business finance to entirely new sets of entrepreneurs and investors and leverages crowdfunding to even the playing field to the rest of us. Founded in Austin, Texas, Diversity Fund seeks to become a leader of small business finance and a trusted source for both entrepreneurs and investors. We’re excited about Diversity Fund and hope you are too. Be sure to register, so that we can send you information and news. Also, subscribe to our e-newsletter and check out our social links for more!
LGBT Capital was established in 2010 with a focus on the LGBT Consumer segment as a credible investment sector and to demonstrate the business case for advancements in LGBT equality and inclusion.
Since then and to support these aims, LGBT Capital has pioneered the development of an LGBT Diversity Investment Index with a complementary Institutional Investment methodology, developed Statistics and Research to demonstrate the potential of the LGBT Consumer Sector, and launched the first international specialist LGBT Wealth Management offering as well as an LGBT focussed Property Portal. LGBT Capital also works with a number of quality LGBT focused businesses to support their investment plans and growth.
LGBT Capital’s portfolio is guided by a primary focus on a sound business opportunity while actively supporting the advancement of LGBT Equality and Rights globally We prefer to work closely with clients and partners towards achievable goals. We will advise, but prefer to help structure, implement and execute. We believe in the power of Impact Investing and in particular that Impact Investing can support the progression of LGBT freedoms and inclusion globally. We also believe that the growth of quality LGBT businesses, particularly in developing markets, will play a key part in further developing LGBT freedoms and quality of life.
Formerly known as Google Ventures, GV was launched in 2009 to serve as the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. Since then, it’s invested in over 300 startups within the life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cybersecurity, and agriculture industries. Some of these startups include Walker and Company, Tala, and Vida.
Google Ventures is very open to exploring relationships of entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.
We believe in the power of spending time together face to face. Whether we’re hosting a summer BBQ, celebrating Pride, or playing softball, you’ll find us with our portfolio founders and their teams.
Startup52X is focused on grooming extraordinary startup founders to launch highly successful and profitable ventures. We especially like teams that have at least ONE founder from underrepresented communities in tech. These include people of color, women, entrepreneurs who are – veterans, with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. We hope to increase diversity in startup and tech spaces while launching outstanding ventures.
Startup52 is an early-stage accelerator based in New York City. As the first sole diversity-focused accelerator in NYC, Startup52 was founded by Chike Ukaegbuto identify and groom outstanding entrepreneurs, especially those from untapped and under-tapped communities. Our main goal is to increase diversity in startup and tech spaces.
We run two cohorts a year with up to 15 outstanding ventures per class. Startup52’s ecosystem of partners, mentors, advisers, industry experts, investors and more, helps our ventures and founders thrive well even under the daunting challenges of startup entrepreneurship.
Our program follows an intensive structure that implements strategy aimed at uniquely helping startups develop an effective framework for decision making in focusing, aligning, executing and delivering against strategic adaptive and growth initiatives. This, we hope will lead to launch, longevity, and successful exits.
Our community of mentors, advisers, experts, serial entrepreneurs and more, are successful people, who have sold businesses, held executive positions at large companies, have advanced degrees from ivy league schools, are current entrepreneurs, among other great accomplishments.
AngelList is a U.S. website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. Created in 2010, the platform has a mission to democratize the investment process and to help startups with their challenges in fundraising and talent. It started as an online introduction board for tech startups that needed seed funding. Since 2015, the site allows startups to raise money from angel investors free of charge.
The LGBT Market on AngelList is a resource to consider. Companies listed include HER and HORNET along around 150 other LGBT entrepreneur-owned businesses and worth investigating as a potential venue for exposure to angel investors
Connectivity Capital Partners is a venture capital firm that funds early-stage startups. Through the efforts of its Chief Investment Officer, Denmark West, the firm advocates for diversity in technology by supporting extraordinary startup founders regardless of their background.
As an LGBT entrepreneur, you are a champion of your brand. With Republic you can create a crowdfunding campaign that does more than attract small investors – it aids in creating brand ambassadors. Not LGBT specific as a platform, yet via your network and the compounded social influence that has you can spread your fundraising efforts to the audience of your making coupled with an active investor pool of 350,000 current members. In May 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enacted Title III of the JOBS Act, allowing non-accredited investors — the majority of the US population — to invest in startups. But the complicated legal requirements demanded a founder and investor-friendly, easy to use platform to make startup investing truly accessible while adhering to legal requirements so that it is an ethical safe space to invest from within.
That’s why we built Republic: to democratize investing and level out the fundraising landscape for founders and investors alike. We’re SEC-registered, FINRA-licensed, and if you’re at all interested in startups, you’ve heard of our past work: Republic is part of a family of startup platforms together with AngelList, Product Hunt, and CoinList — one of the most trusted online startup ecosystems in the world.
Gaingels is a profit-focused, mission-based affinity organization (a networking group of investors) which offers venture-stage investment opportunities into companies worldwide that have at least one LGBT founder, senior C-level executive, or board member.
Our members put great effort into assisting the companies we invest in. In turn, exceptional founders seek out this type of assistance to produce strong returns.
We also invest directly in venture funds, accelerator partners, and charity partnerships, including our own scholarship and mentoring program.
Announcing the Diversity Initiative, the largest venture capital resource ever created to focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs. This $125M commitment, part of Intel’s groundbreaking diversity efforts, will ensure that funded entrepreneurs enjoy the access to business development programs, global network, technology expertise and brand capital their talents deserve. Focusing on both the seed-stage and expansion phases, Intel Capital – Diversity Fund invests in technology, environmental or social mission driving startups, and must be within the U.S.
In June 2015, Intel Capital announced the venture industry’s largest-ever commitment to invest in technology companies led by women and underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans).
Initially envisioned as a five-year, $125 million fund, the Intel Capital Diversity Initiative was expanded in October 2016 to also invest in startups led by entrepreneurs living with disabilities, U.S.-based entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ community, and U.S. military veterans.
In May 2018, Intel Capital announced that the Diversity initiative had exceeded its initial $125 million investment target more than two years ahead of schedule. Through September 2019, we have invested $381M in companies led by diverse teams; such companies make up 15 percent of our active portfolio.
500’s mission is to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems.
We believe that great founders come in all shades, genders, and nationalities.
Since our inception, we’ve made it our mission to find and empower talented founders, whether they’re across the world or overlooked in our own backyard.
Diversity has always been a core value at 500. We’re committed to being champions of the global VC community, not as it is, but as we’d like to see it.
At 500, we don’t just slap a poster on the wall about diversity – we know that LGBT founders, mentors, and investors are a huge part of what makes our #500Strong family so great. In 2014, we even launched Rainbow Round to highlight great entrepreneurs and do more community outreach.
If you have a socially responsible business model, Pipeline is a great start. Business owners can pitch to a network of women investors through pitch summits which happen several times throughout the year in various locations. To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit, headed by a cis female, non-binary femme or transgender woman. Our members serve as the friends and family for entrepreneurs who may not already have support at their critical startup stage.
DigitalUndivided understands that cultural, structural, and financial barriers have functioned to restrict the involvement of people of color in economic chances. But, black and Latina women are the fastest-growing set of entrepreneurs in the USA. BIG is more than an incubator- it’s a direct pathway into the innovation economy for women of color. The BIG process begins with START, an invite-only weekend of ideation, pitching, feedback, and networking. From this weekend, we chose the cohort of the BIG Incubator
Self admittedly, this is an investment portfolio that happens to take on minorities, not as a mission, but as a matter of good business as discussed in his short article here >> How to build a successful and diverse venture capital portfolio without really trying Brooklyn Bridge Ventures manages $23 million across two funds, leading or co-leading investments of around $350,000 in New York City companies that have yet to raise $750,000 in prior rounds. BBV is the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn, NY and it is managed by Charlie O’Donnell. Conversations often start pre-product and pre-deck. The fund invests in a wide variety of sectors, so say hello.
Kapor Capital invests in tech-driven seed stage companies committed to closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities and/or minority underrepresented communities in the United States. We are open to investing in every sector, including education, work, finance, justice, food, and health.
We have invested exclusively in companies that have real potential to produce both significant financial returns and large-scale social impact by:
closing gaps of access to information or goods and services; and/or
expanding economic opportunity in the workplace and the marketplace; and/or
increasing outcomes such as efficiency and competitiveness of market-based solutions to social and economic issues.
We seek entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, especially people of color, women and other groups that have been historically underrepresented. We believe lived experience helps entrepreneurs identify rapidly-scalable, market-based solutions others have overlooked.
They construct Hispanic and Minority company success stories by giving experience for early-stage companies. They supply mentorship, strategic guidance, and technical assistance. They focus particularly on first-time entrepreneurs and first-time small business owners.
Astia was founded in Silicon Valley in 1999 as a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and promoting best-in-class, high-growth ventures that include women leaders.
Astia levels the investment playing field by cultivating a trusted global ecosystem of engaged male and female investors and advisors, who offer crucial resources, including capital, networks, and expertise. Unlike most VC’s, investment firms, or accelerators, Astia provides a creative, proven approach that contributes to the success of women leaders and their ventures.
Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC, is a social impact and inclusion investment firm. CFP exists to “do well by doing good.” Through a multi-company investment approach, CFP is able to minimize placement risk, where most early-stage funds have failed in the past. By becoming directly involved in each company, CFP is able to maintain a quality control position with the management team and the use of funds needed to take each company into revenue and profitability.
Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC generates capital appreciation through investments in its portfolio companies that meet the Fund’s investment policies. The Fund will seek to fulfill its primary investment objective by making investments in early-stage companies that require additional equity and/or working capital in order to establish or expand their businesses
Founded in 2011 by Angela Benton, NewME has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs through our online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators, and equity portfolio. We pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley by focusing on helping entrepreneurs identify strengths from their non-traditional backgrounds and leveraging them in business. We’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses some have even went on to raise venture capital funding. To-date NewME has helped minority entrepreneurs raise over $43MM in funding.
Mariah Lichtenstern’s background of building bridges between the privilege with those that are not prompted her to found Diversecity Ventures. Its focus is to invest in startups that not only aims to make a socio-economic and environmental impact but, more importantly, those that strive to promote cultural, geographic and cultural diversity.
Co-founded by Shauntel Poulson, Reach Capital is a venture capital firm that aims to support minority-led startups striving to help underserved communities in the country, particularly in the field of education. We invest in education because we believe itʼs our most valuable resource. It has the power to influence our course, contribute to our dreams and strengthen our communities. We invest in the people we believe in and the ideas we want to help build. Whether we are your sole investor or one of the many partners along your journey, we’ll always be there, ready to go to bat for you when necessary.
Black Angel Tech Fund was started by a group of successful Black entrepreneurs and angel investors after a thought-provoking panel about the lack of Black startup founders during the 2015 Stanford Black Alumni Summit. Since then, they have taken up the cause to use financial resources from successful African-Americans to support Black-owned startups. If you are LGBTQ and also happen to be African American, this VC may have interest in you.
Digitalundivided was founded by Kathryn Finney in 2012. Its mission is to champion Black- and Latinx-owned startups, by providing financial support and sound advice that will not only help launch these startups but also scale. If you are LGBTQ and also happen to be African American or Latinx, this VC may have interest in you.
DID continues to expand it’s impact and create true systems change through initiatives like The Doonie Fund, which has made over 1000 micro-investments in black women entrepreneurs and the expanded START program, which serves as an entry way for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs into high growth entrepreneurship.
Project Diane 2020 is set to be released in Fall 2020 and while financial impact remains a central focus, 2020 data will spotlight community impact and what it truly means to be “self-made” in the tech and innovation space.
Based in New York City, KEC Ventures was founded by entrepreneurs from different ethnic backgrounds and industries. This unique blend of leadership gives KEC Ventures the ability to discover and support early-stage startups founded by entrepreneurs belonging to minority groups.
We help entrepreneurs bring the future into focus to find their breakthrough moment. Our proven track record of 100+ investments has unlocked growth opportunities through capital, advisement, and relationship building. We are the result of the merger between successful Los Angeles and Bay Area based Seed funds, Cross Culture Ventures and M Ventures. We invest in technology companies that create infectious products that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace.
Based in New York, Harlem Capital Partners (HCP) is a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage, minority-owned startups. Its mission is to invest in 1,000 of these types of startups within the next 20 years, with half of these being women- and minority-owned startups. HCP focuses its investments towards startups that aim to enhance financial, marketing, and operational experiences. As a solution to this challenge, HCP partners with entrepreneurs who have revenue-generating tech-enabled products or services that can leverage our financial, marketing and operational experiences to implement key processes to go from selling products to running a sustainable business.
Dreamit Ventures prides itself not only one of America’s top startup accelerators but also a catalyst of diversifying startup ownership in the country, particularly those that focus on developing Health and Urban Tech solutions.
Its partnership with Comcast Ventures aims to provide financial support and mentorship to minority-owned startups with ready-made products to help them scale through their Dreamit Access program.
Since it was founded, Humble Ventures has invested in 47 different startups, 70% of which are those established by women and entrepreneurs belonging to minority groups. These theCut, The Mentor Method, and KweliTV. Humble Ventures’ goal is to bring to innovative startups collective human, financial, and technical resources for them to launch and scale.
We focus on diverse entrepreneurs that are solving problems for the fastest growing demographic segments. We believe that diverse entrepreneurs provide opportunities for disproportionate returns and represent the markets of the future. We know that diverse audiences are tied inextricably to the future of cities. These audiences require responsive healthcare, access to wholesome food, economic stability, education, safe neighborhoods, and tight social support to create an environments for them to thrive.
Founders First Capital Partners is a venture capital firm founded by Kim Folsom with the goal of providing capital and support to startups owned by women, entrepreneurs from minority groups, and military veterans.
We fund service-based companies generating between $250K and $5M in annual revenues typically led by minority, military veterans, or woman founders. We offer Revenue-based investment (“RBI”), a new form of business financing, distinct from the preferred equity structure most VCs use and more flexible than traditional bank debt.
Its goal is to help startup founders not just launch a successful business, but also one that can be carried from one generation to another.
Valmo Ventures is a venture capital firm founded by Valerie Mosley, a successful entrepreneur who’s made it her mission to help under-represented startup founders grow both their self-worth and net worth.
In line with this, Valmo Ventures’ mission is to create, advise, and partner with startups to transform them into valuable and profitable assets to society as a whole. Valmo Ventures creates, collaborates, and invests in companies, assets, and efforts that add value to portfolio returns and add value to our society. We believe that when we advise, invest in, and collaborate with bright, like-minded, and like-hearted individuals, extraordinary results are possible.
While Base Ventures is still a relatively young venture capital firm, it’s already making a mark as far as bridging the gender, and ethnic gap observed among startups in the country. Already, it has raised multi-million dollar funding for startups like StyleSeat and Balanced Payments.
Much of the success of Base Ventures is owed to its founder and Managing Director, Erik Moore. A seed investor of Zappos.com, Moore is recognized as one of the top 25 Most Influential Black in Tech and is driven by his desire to change the world by investing in young entrepreneurs.
Precursor Ventures is a venture capital firm that provides funding to pre-seed startups developing B2B and B2C software applications and services, and connected hardware. Although it’s one of the lesser-known firms, Precursor Ventures has willingly taken on the mission to ensure startup founder from diverse backgrounds are given equal opportunity to receive funding to grow and scale their businesses.
Precursor Ventures was founded with one simple premise. It is our belief that all entrepreneurs, regardless of background, benefit from having an institutional investor to help them scale and grow their company from the very beginning. We have built the entire firm around this premise that helping entrepreneurs get started and scale will be our life’s work. To that end, we have six core principles that drive our decisions and strategy:
We want to invest in your first institutional round of investment. We do not have requirements for traction or metrics. We want to be part of the company as early as possible. We are unafraid to back unproven, first-time entrepreneurs; unproven is not the same as incapable. We believe that the greatest returns in venture come from entrepreneurs who are capable but have not yet had the opportunity to show the world their talents and capabilities. We aggressively back entrepreneurs who have something to prove. 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 are patient because building meaningful companies takes time and the rewards are great for those who participate in the entire journey. Building great companies takes time. There are no shortcuts and we know that the journey will be long but the rewards are worthwhile. We focus on long-term thinking. We value intellectual curiosity and open thinking. The best companies are built by curious founders who question everything and are open to thinking about new ways to tackle problems. We invest in early-stage companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Toronto. We are willing to consider other geographies, but we focus our energy in these locations.
Excel Capital Management is a proud supporter of the LGBT community, and we are here to help with all of your business funding needs! For more information on Excel and the funding solutions we offer, check out our Solutions page and APPLY NOW! For even faster service, contact one of our funding specialists TODAY at 877-880-8086
Wells Fargo a national leading small business lender for eleven years and they are dedicated to supporting the business needs of the LGBT entrepreneur client community. This dedication includes being a founding corporate partner of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and strong support for LGBT inclusion with their LGBT clients and their employees. As an employer, Wells Fargo fosters a culture in which all people and their individual differences are not only accepted but celebrated. If you’re an LGBTQ+ employee of Wells Fargo rate them here.
Being an entrepreneur is never easy. But so worth it. You can make inroads to attaining your entrepreneurial goals. Be smart about who you partner with for funding. It will be a long-lasting relationship not to be taken lightly.
Bear in mind there is not any failure, only feedback. Remember that there are organizations and persons which are pushing for diversity and that encourage LGBTQ and other diversity entrepreneurs. One such organization is the National Venture Capital Association who has listed over 40 venture funds dedicated to diversity. We are still reviewing all those companies to validate they are worthy of including in this list in a future update.
September 10, 2018
(updated October 13, 2020)
Published by Dennis Velco
An increasing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer professionals are exploring the potential of starting their own company to become an LGBT entrepreneur. It sounds like an ideal job to work for yourself, to have no ceiling on your income potential, set your own daily schedule and do something you are passionate about and really believe in. And who knows. From being a dog groomer to dreams of becoming the next billion-dollar tech startup. The possibilities are almost limitless.
However, the harsh reality is, being self-employed can quickly become a burden and headache if not tackled in the right way. 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 30% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business. Such statistics are scary, but it reinforces the importance of knowing the key principles of entrepreneurship before setting off on an expensive venture.
1. Passion Drives
When looking at all the of hard work, long hours and financial commitment being passionate about what the business, industry, and clients can go a long way to sustain you during the startup and down times. Check out our article titled “Want to be an LGBT Entrepreneur? How to Start Business
2. Research It
No matter how much passion you have for something you also need to be somewhat convenienced that there is a market for your business. Check out our article titled ““>Market Research for LGBT Business Startups for a bit more information.
Hopefully, you have the family, a life partner, and friends who believe in your vision and support you in any way they can. If not already consider joining your local LGBT Chamber of Commerce in your area. It’s a great way to not only stir business opportunities but also to network with peers for business coaching success support. Consider finding a mentor in that group or via OutBüro to be a business coach mentor either overall or within a particular area such as marketing or finance. As a small startup, you may be very knowledgeable about what you do, but as a business owner starting out you have to wear many hats and do it all or pay for it to be done. Getting coaching guidance can help you be effective and cut valuable dollars from hiring others. If you have success and talent to share with a startup entrepreneur you may also consider being a mentor to someone else and help grow the LGBT business community.
4. You have a Life – Hopefully
Launching and growing a business can be mentally and physically draining, in addition, to financially which all can add a huge amount of stress to your life. You have to take care of yourself first, your family, love and social relationships. Schedule time for the gym or other physical activities and outings with those that love and support you. If needed actually schedule this time so that your calendar app automatically reminds you of these important activities. This will aid in maintaining a balanced life and so can give your business all your energy when it’s time to focus on that. Ensure the business doesn’t 120% consume you.
Entrepreneurs have varying definitions of what this means, but at its core, cash flow is the most important factor in your early business’ success or failure. Without a positive cash flow, even the best business ideas will be bankrupt.
7. Lean and Mean
It’s easy to churn through cash in the business start-up stage when new entrepreneurs put their valuable early limited funds toward things like a cool downtown office space and provide employee perks that make working in the office seem like a trip to Dave and Busters.
So many entrepreneurs get exuberant about investing in trademarks, patents, complicated legal agreements, and company structures. However, these can drain your funds and time when you may be better off focusing on building your product or service, creating brand recognition in the most cost-effective manner you can, and an initial customer/client base.
9. Minimum and Grow
Craw, walk and then run is a great way to consider launching your business. In business, this is also termed as the minimum viable product (MVP), which is a product/service with just enough features/services to gain early customers and provide them with the value they appreciate and that you can do well. During this time is where you’ll acquire valuable feedback from the clients/customers/users to hone and grow your product/service.
We hope you found this and the related articles helpful. Do you have other tips? Please comment below. Join an OutBüro to discuss topics of related business ownership with your peers. If you don’t see a group you’d like, start it or use the Support | Contact Us form to request a new group be created. You may further use your OutBüro profile to post blog articles about your business or industry and content for all LGBT professionals and entrepreneurs to learn from. It is your community. Become an active part of it today.