In celebration of Pride Month, Venture Forward is excited to share our list of LGBTQ+ venture capital investors to watch. We’re highlighting both emerging and experienced investors who were nominated by their peers and chosen for their contributions to the industry and the LGBTQ+ community at-large.
Join us as we celebrate their achievements and inspire the next generation of investors! Special thanks to StartOut and LGBT+VC for their help in providing nominations and for their leadership in the community throughout the year. Check out their organization pages to see how you can support other LGBTQ+ initiatives!
Note: List is alphabetical by last name.
General Partner, Chasing Rainbows
Patrick Driscoll joined Chasing Rainbows as a General Partner after leading initiatives for LGBTQ+ investors and startups with StartOut and Gaingels in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. As a Venture Partner for Gaingels, Patrick hosted LGBTQ+ angel groups to explore emerging startup ecosystems in in partnership with Google, 500 Global, and governmental organizations. He has also sourced deals including Ureeka for Gaingels.
Patrick has led global VC education programs with 500 Global in partnership with Stanford, Berkeley, INSEAD, and numerous corporations and law firms. In this role, he has cultivated a network of LPs and GPs across the U.S. and globe, training more than 350 individual VCs. He’s also run accelerator programs focused on national security, deploying $20 million in funding to 22 startups including eVisit, Zainar, and Promethium, all of which raised subsequent rounds.
Fun fact: Patrick is a past scholarship recipient for our VC University program. He also participated in our LP Office Hours program.
Senior Associate, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC)
Sean Evans has over 10 years of experience in advancing early-stage innovation within academia and pharma. He joined Johnson & Johnson in 2020 and transitioned to JJDC, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate venture group, in 2021. In his current role as a Senior Associate, Sean initiates and manages equity investments in support of the pharmaceutical sector in East North America. Sean is currently a Board Observer for Aro Biotherapeutics, Locus Biosciences and X-Vax Technology.
Prior to J&J, Sean was Director, Business Development & Alliances with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, where he spent over seven years establishing and managing corporate research partnerships and supporting university spinouts. Outside of his role at Hopkins, Sean also co-founded a biotech company, Cogentis Therapeutics, focused on developing a peptide-based therapeutic for neurodegenerative disorders. He received a B.A. in Biology from the College of Charleston followed by an M.S. in Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from Johns Hopkins University.
Fun fact: Sean was a partial scholarship recipient and volunteer mentor for our VC University program.
Analyst, Venturing, TechNexus Venture Collaborative
Sammie Hasen is an Analyst at TechNexus Venture Collaborative. She was born and raised in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. Throughout college, she founded and led a femtech startup that ignited her passion for entrepreneurship. She began her career as a product manager at Marcus by Goldman Sachs.
Additionally, Sammie is on the programming board for StartOut Chicago and has a core focus on lifting underrepresented founders, which led her to co-create the CHAT Collective.
Fun fact: Sammie is a past scholarship recipient for our VC University program.
Co-Founder, Colorful Capital
Megan Kashner is a Co-Founder of Colorful Capital, a VC firm focused on LGBTQ+-led ventures. Megan is also a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, specializing in the intersection of markets and impact.
Vice President, Sapphire Ventures
Alex Lehman is a Vice President at Sapphire Ventures, where she focuses primarily on enterprise infrastructure, data and analytics, and security, shared with investment areas across enterprise SaaS applications, health tech, and life sciences software.
Alex was recently honored with the 2023 NVCA Rising Star award, which recognizes the next generation of venture capital professionals who are rising through the ranks and are widely considered by their peers and others as emerging leaders of the venture capital industry. Alex is also a Board Advisor for a nonprofit called Women in Sports Tech, which provides funding and growth opportunities to young women pursuing careers in sports and technology. She is passionate about empowering under-represented individuals across the venture and technology landscapes and is a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Director of Limited Partners, Silicon Valley Bank
Alexandra Marshall is the Director of Limited Partners for the venture capital practice at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). In her role, she is responsible for strategy, insights and connectivity between venture fund managers and limited partners, including fund of funds, endowments, foundations, corporate venture funds, family offices — and more.
Before joining SVB, Alexandra was an investor at First Round Capital. A strong advocate for those who experience underrepresentation in funding communities, she is the co-founder of LatinxVC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth and support of the venture capital ecosystem. Alexandra has been recognized by Harlem Capital as one of 10 Latino/a startups that have raised more than $100 million and was included in HBCUvc’s 31 Under 31: The Future of Venture Capital list.
Fun fact: Alexandra moderated the LP panel and hosted office hours at our LP Office Hours program.
Founder, DVRGNT Ventures
B. Pagels-Minor is the Founder of DVRGNT Ventures, an investment firm focused on the Midwest, South, and Mountain West regions of the United States. With a career spanning over a decade, B. has worked for a variety of Fortune 500 brands, including Apple and Netflix.
B. has been honored with prestigious titles such as 40 Under 40 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal and recognition in the Queer 50 and LGBTQ Nation Hero of the Year lists. B. also serves on the board of directors for organizations such as Howard Brown Health, dedicated to LGBTQ liberation, and the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
Fun fact: B. participated in our LP Office Hours program.
Founder and Managing Director, Full Turn Capital
Alex Mitchell is the Founder and Managing Director of Full Turn Capital, a pre-seed and seed stage fund. He invests in early-stage innovators in cleantech and mobility, finding profitable ways to reap the benefits of mobility — including access to education, healthcare, and employment — while eliminating negative externalities such as pollution. Before founding his venture firm, Alex focused on capital allocation for early-stage mobility startups at LACI, one of the world’s leading nonprofit cleantech incubators. In addition to overseeing all founder-facing work and startup programs, he helped raise and deploy multiple funds — including LACI’s Impact Funds I and II (venture capital) and the first-of-its-kind nationwide LACI Cleantech Debt Fund.
A dual U.S./Belgian citizen, Alex is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained an MBA from the Wharton School and an MA from the School of Arts and Sciences. He earned his undergraduate degree at Stanford University. He is a member of StartOut, Gaingels, and Out in Tech.
Managing Partner, 360 Venture Collective
Kelly O’Connell is the Managing Partner of 360 Venture Collective, a woman-founded venture firm that funds pre-seed and seed stage companies led by women and LGBTQ+ founders.
She is also an Advisory Board Member for StartOut, University of California, Riverside’s Design Thinking Program, the Simmons University AAEB, and Start Giving Local (which she also founded).
Fun fact: Kelly participated in our LP Office Hours program.
Principal, Insight Partners
Nicole Shimer joined Insight Partners in 2016 and is a Principal on the investment team. She has invested $1B+ into enterprise SaaS companies across verticals. Her investments span Series A through pre-IPO stage and include TaxJar (acquired by Stripe), OneTrust, Sylvera, and Apprentice. As a founding member of OUTsight, Insight’s LGBTQ+ ERG, Nicole is responsible for building out the group’s mentorship function so members can learn from each other and build community. Nicole lives in New York City and graduated from Brown University.
Senior Associate, Zeal Capital Partners
Evelysse Vargas is a Senior Associate at Zeal Capital Partners, where she sources growth-stage deals across the education and workforce/employment categories. She began her career working at BlackRock in the Financial Institutions Group before transitioning to a role as Senior Investment Analyst at The New York City Board of Education Retirement System.
Evelysse’s passion for fostering diverse communities has garnered her roles on the Board of The New York Chapter of The National Association of Securities Professionals and as Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at her alma mater, The Chapin School. Evelysse is heavily involved with Out for Undergrad, an organization committed to getting LGBTQ+ undergrads professional experience. She is also the Board Director of LGBT+VC, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ prosperity through venture capital.
Fun fact: Evelysse was a scholarship recipient for our VC University LIVE – UNC program.