Notable Early-Stage VCs Unite to Launch an Investment Vehicle Accelerating Diversity in Venture Capital
Today, we’re thrilled to announce Screendoor, a $50M+ investment vehicle managed by a coalition of experienced seed-stage investors intent on accelerating diversity in our industry faster than the status quo will accommodate. So we’re going to fund and advise new VCs from underrepresented populations who we hope over time will become our collaborators, our competitors and the future leaders of our industry.
Through an open and rolling application process, Screendoor will invest capital in select US-based solo GPs or venture funds that have at least one underrepresented general partner. The debut vehicle will target approximately 15 commitments ranging from $500k-5M per fund, leaving enough room for the participation of other investors but being able to help anchor a firm and catalyze its first close when necessary. Every Screendoor commitment goes beyond capital to provide selected investors with direct, ongoing mentorship from tenured seed-stage investors, and LPs, with experience launching and managing their own firms. Our goal isn’t just to raise funds, but to help build lasting firms.
“The diversity numbers in venture capital in particular, and tech more generally, have been abysmal for far too long and change has been too slow. That translates to vast amounts of talent left on the sidelines and entire market opportunities left unaddressed,” said Satya Patel, General Partner at Homebrew and Head of the Investment Committee at Screendoor. “Screendoor is tackling this issue head on and we’re starting by calling it what it is: a solvable problem. We believe that by helping to put underrepresented venture capitalists in business, we can spark a virtuous cycle that ushers in a more diverse era in technology, in turn bolstering overall economic outcomes across the sector.”
Screendoor’s initial Venture Advisors —all of whom have invested personally in Screendoor and none of whom are receiving salary or carry in the effort:
Shauntel Garvey - Reach Capital
Kirsten Green - Forerunner Ventures
Eva Ho - Fika Ventures
Chris Howard - Fuel Capital
Charles Hudson - Precursor Ventures
Aileen Lee - Cowboy Ventures
Kanyi Maqubela - Kindred Ventures
Satya Patel - Homebrew
Leah Solivan - Fuel Capital
Hunter Walk - Homebrew
The intent is to expand this group over time and into successive funds.
Throughout all our careers we’ve seen the compounding effects of only hiring and funding within one’s network, falling back on tired, biased notions of ‘pattern matching.’ The investors writing the checks resemble the founders getting the investment and they hire people who also look and think like them. We’re passionate about supporting underrepresented investors, but we also believe this model represents the fastest way to inject real structural change into the entire venture and tech ecosystem.
When success occurs the cycle begins anew, with those investors increasing their AUM, the founders becoming angel investors and the startup employees becoming future founders backed by the upstream supporters. Screendoor wants to be one of the actors working to insert demographic diversity into these scenarios, not merely shifting capital from one group to another but instead growing the inputs - and outputs - from our industry. End result? Increased durable wealth creation for more people.
Although we intend to make a considerable impact on how diverse general partners raise and deploy capital, Screendoor is most certainly not structured as an impact fund. It’s our intention that this fund will be a benchmark-beating investment vehicle, proving the positive economics of diversity and inclusion goals. We are proud to be backed by a forward-looking group of financial supporters from among the best institutional investors:
Screendoor’s launch investors include Davidson College, DUMAC, Hall Capital, Harvard Management Company, The James Irvine Foundation, University of Michigan, Princeton University, Sapphire Partners and University of Virginia Investment Management Company (as well as several similar institutions who remain private for now).
“Screendoor promises access to talented emerging managers and allows us to begin a relationship with these investors ahead of their first institutional raises,” says Jesús Argüelles, Director of Investments at The James Irvine Foundation and member of the Screendoor Investment Committee. “We’re participating not just as capital partners but will contribute time as well, alongside the hands-on mentorship Screendoor managers will receive. Over time I hope we’ll build direct relationships with many of these firms.”
If you are an underrepresented investor—or are exploring the possibility of raising your first fund as one—we’d love to hear from you. To learn more about Screendoor, you can view the application criteria and process here.
We’re inspired by the recent actions taken by our peers in venture capital to address the issue of underrepresentation in our ranks. It’s our hope to see even more investors rally around this cause by committing both time and money to diversity and inclusion within the venture capital industry. If this is you, we’d love to work with you. Please contact us here.