Lo Toney Is Leaving Google Ventures After He Raises $50M Diverse Investors Fund

Written by Dana Sanchez

Lo Toney, a partner at GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet, plans to officially leave GV after he raises $50 million to invest in venture capitalists of color, Tech Crunch reported.

Toney wants to raise the $50 million for an upcoming fund-of-funds named Plexo Capital, according to an SEC filing, Axios reported. Since 2017, Toney has been incubating Plexo Capital inside GV.

Toney has made other efforts to invest in venture capitalists of color. He’s a mentor for HBCU.vc, which works to diversify the white, male-dominated world of venture capital. HBCU.vc works with students attending historically black colleges and universities to teach them the basics of venture capital and entrepreneurship.

Plexo will be focused on seed funds led by women and minority general partners, Axios reported.

Toney joined GV — formerly Google Ventures — from Comcast Ventures, where he focused on the Catalyst Fund, a group of investments in early-stage technology startups led by entrepreneurs of color, according to his GV bio. He specializes in consumer technology investments, with an emphasis on mobile messaging, marketplaces, and e-commerce.

He has held executive roles at startups and global consumer brands, and was the general manager of Zynga Poker. He worked in operating positions at Nike.com and eBay.

From Tech Crunch. Story by Megan Rose Dickey

The idea with Plexo Capital, which is backed by Alphabet, is to invest as a limited partner in seed funds led by people of color and/or female general partners, Toney said in an interview back in 2017 with Family Office Insights.

There are very few black and Latinx investors, with only 2 percent of investment team members at VC firms identifying as Black and just 1 percent identifying as Latinx, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Meanwhile, just 12 percent of investment professionals are women, according to Kapor Center for Social Impact’s latest report.

Here’s how Toney described the beginnings of Plexo:

“Plexo is Portuguese for ‘intricate network,’ which is exactly what women and minority VCs tend to have. Their own inherent diversity makes their outlook broader and more open –– they tend to cast their net wide and have a wider lens to spot underserved opportunities that other VCs may particularly miss at the seed stage. A common misperception is that women and minority VCs are only investing into women and minority entrepreneurs which is not true – they are investing into entrepreneurs of all types and are catching missed and underserved opportunities.”

In addition to investing as LPs, Plexo Capital will make direct investments in some startups that are funded by firms where Plexo has an LP position.”

Once Toney raises the funds for his fund, he’ll officially leave GV.

Read more at  Tech Crunch.

Lo Toney
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)