It is no secret; the Venture Capital firm is predominantly white. Even here in Africa, the bulk of investors aboard various VC vehicles are white and male, and blacks get even more underrepresented in North America. BLCK VC is a new venture capital firm out to set up some diversity within the VC landscape.
As per the report tabled by Richard Kerby – a partner at Equal Ventures – 81% of VC firms do not have a single black investor. The report goes further to say 50% of black investors in the VC industry occupy associate levels or lowest levels within the firms. Just 2% have made it to VC partners.
BLCK VC was founded by Storm Ventures associate Frederik Groce and NEA associate Sydney Sykes. The firm’s mission is to connect, engage, and advance black venture capitalists. In not so many words they describe their mission as:
‘Turn 200 black investors into 400 black investors by 2024.’
In an interview with TechCrunch, Sykes said, “We think of ourselves as an organization formed by black VCs for black VCs to increase the representation of black investors.
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.”
The BLCK VC has been up and running since the beginning of this year, building and expanding their network across the Los Angeles, San Francisco area, and New York. Their goal is to put in place communities of black investors where honest conversations and questions on where to place their resources and help budding small businesses grow.
During the same interview with TechCrunch, Groce added: “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. 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 to start to shift.”