BLCK VC Wants To Turn 200 Black Investors Into 400 Black Investors By 2024

Written by Ann Brown

This may seem like fake news but it’s real — 81 percent of venture capital firms don’t have a single Black investor.

Looking at the numbers even closer, about 50 percent of Black investors at the associate level, or are at the lowest level at a firm and just only 2 percent of VC partners are Black, according to data collected by Richard Kerby, a partner at Equal Ventures.

A new organization is looking to change all this.

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BLCK VC, a new organization founded by Storm Ventures associate Frederik Groce and NEA (New Enterprise Associate) analyst Sydney Sykes, plans to connect, engage and advance Black venture capitalists.

“We are the change that we seek,” BLCK VC’s home page says.

BLCK VC wants to turn 200 Black investors into 400 Black investors by 2024.

“We think of ourselves as an organization formed by Black VCs for Blacks VCs to increase the representation of Black investors,” Sykes told TechCrunch. “You can look around and say ‘well, I know five Black VCs,’ but you can also say this firm does not have a single Black VC, they may not even have a single underrepresented minority…We want to make firms reckon with the fact that there is a racial diversity problem; there is a lack of Black VCs and every firm should really care about it.”

BLCK VC was launched at the beginning of 2018, and got right to work growing a network of Black investors in the San Francisco area, Los Angeles, and New York. The organization wants to create a community for Black investors, an interactive space, as well as become a resource for VC firms seeking diverse hires.

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“There’s an incredible need to ensure there are resources in place so people don’t churn out of the community; getting people in the door is only half the battle,” Groce said. “This is us saying ‘hey, get involved.’ It’s time to broaden and give others access to what we are doing. It takes a village if we really want to see things start to shift.”

Sykes added: “VC, more than a lot of industries, is very network driven in the way that they hire. The network started 40 or 50 years ago with a lot of white men who had the wealth at the time to invest in companies. As VC has grown, a lot of the people who started it hired people they knew, there wasn’t an effort to recruit from outside of their network. That has made VC this very homogenous industry.”

On the BLCK VC’ board are Canaan Partners venture investor Adina Tecklu; Goldman Sachs growth equity investor Brian Hollin; Earnest Sweat, an investment manager at Prologis Ventures; and M12 Ventures partner Elliott Robinson.