About Us

Venture Forward is a 501(c)(3) supporting organization to NVCA, with a mission is to diversify, educate, and empower the VC investor class to advance the industry and maximize impact and returns. We provide education, resources, and connections to drive intersectional diversity within the venture capital community. We enable emerging investors to become VC investors by creating opportunities and opening doors that might otherwise have been closed to them. For VC investors and firms, we represent a “square one” resource to help them implement meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

Our key initiatives include:

  • VC University: A certificate course co-led with NVCA and UC Berkeley, that democratizes access to VC education. Venture Forward also provides full scholarships and a dedicated mentorship program.
  • LP Office Hours: Highly curated half-day workshops where underrepresented and emerging managers receive guidance from limited partners (LPs) and experienced VCs about fundraising best practices.
  • VC Human Capital Survey:  Every two years, we conduct a survey of VC firm workforce demographics and talent management strategies to measure the industry’s DEI progress.

Sign up to stay up to date or contact us at hello@ventureforward.org to get involved with our initiatives.

News & Press Releases

Venture Forward Executive Director Stresses Importance of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in VC Industry at Congressional Hearing (7/1/2022)

Maryam Haque, the Executive Director of Venture Forward, testified before the Committee on Financial Services Task Force on Financial Technology this week on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the U.S. venture capital (VC) ecosystem. The hearing focused on understanding obstacles to more investments in underrepresented founders in the financial technology (fintech) space, as well as the important role VC investors play in funding fintech startups that are leveraging new technologies to provide financial services and products.

Venture Forward 2021 Impact Report (7/29/2021)

After just one year, Venture Forward has had a big impact on advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive VC ecosystem. We have a lot to be proud of, and our work remains important and impactful. To showcase and share what we have accomplished so far, Venture Forward has produced our first annual impact report. See our stats, donate, and get involved.

Venture Forward 2021 Impact Report (7/29/2021)

After just one year, Venture Forward has had a big impact on advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive VC ecosystem. We have a lot to be proud of, and our work remains important and impactful. To showcase and share what we have accomplished so far, Venture Forward has produced our first annual impact report. See our stats, donate, and get involved.

Venture Forward Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Welcomes Two New Board Members (6/16/2021)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Venture Forward is excited to celebrate its one-year anniversary as well as the appointment of two new members to its board of directors: Elliott Robinson, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, and Nicole Walker, Managing Partner at Arboretum Ventures. 

Venture Forward Celebrates One Year Anniversary (6/16/2021)

After several years in the making, we publicly launched on June 16, 2020  as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting organization to NVCA, to meet the growing needs of the VC industry related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), education, research, and history preservation.  

NVCA Launches Nonprofit Venture Forward to Shape the Future of Venture Capital (6/16/2020)

Venture Forward will focus on industry advancement initiatives around diversity, education, research, and history, while NVCA continues to advocate on behalf of the venture industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) officially launched Venture Forward in June 2020 as a supporting organization.

Venture Forward will build upon existing industry advancement efforts incubated under NVCA, and produce programs, resources, research, and events to promote a strong and inclusive ecosystem. Both organizations will benefit from a cost-sharing structure, while expanding the capacity of each to focus on its specific missions.

Venture Forward will focus its full attention on efforts that support the internal well-being of the VC community, while NVCA continues to focus its full attention on shaping public policy that is critical to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. By structurally separating its advocacy and industry advancement efforts, NVCA and Venture Forward are both better equipped to meet the needs of the venture community. 

Before publicly launching as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in June 2020, Venture Forward had been in the works for several years. The earliest fabric traces its roots to the formation of the NVCA Diversity Task Force in 2014, and the launch of VentureForward in 2017 as an NVCA initiative focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. NVCA received the IRS designation to start Venture Forward in 2018, at which point fundraising efforts began in advance of a formal launch. Venture Forward was initially scheduled to launch at the NVCA Leadership Gala in March, 2020, but the event was postponed due to COVID.

Several converging trends have led to the formation and launch of Venture Forward now as a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a continued focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion but also a broader approach to helping shape the future of VC.

  • NVCA’s policy needs are increasing and getting more complex. At the same time, NVCA is increasingly being asked to address a host of non-policy needs that have emerged as the venture industry has matured and evolved.  Having a complementary but separate organization with the mission, leadership, and resources to focus solely on investing in the health of the industry ensures a long-term, sustainable approach to addressing these critical areas.

  • The VC industry today looks very different than it did even ten years ago. It is bigger, more professional, and increasingly diverse. Human capital is critical and more fluid. As our industry has matured, industry demand for programs to support the next generation of VC leaders has increased. Paving the way for their success will affect how VC impacts our economy, society, and innovation in the next 50+ years. The future of the industry, firm operations, talent management, and the culture of VC are more critical now than ever before.

  • VC has been concentrated in certain demographics and a few geographies, and systemic barriers to entry continue to persist in our industry. We must keep the focus and momentum on expanding opportunities and access to capital for those from historically underrepresented groups.

  • The VC industry is small. What venture capital is, how it works, and why it’s important is increasingly misunderstood by those outside of our industry. We must own the narrative of VC.

Venture Forward’s work revolves around four key areas of focus:

  • DE&I: Advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive ecosystem
  • Education: Educating a new generation of VC investors to equip them with the tools to succeed, and informing the general public about the role of VC on the US economy
  • Research & Data: Conducting and sharing meaningful research on VC trends and impact
  • History: Capturing the rich history of VC and distilling insights to shape the future

Key programs include

VC University – Foundational certificate course on venture finance that democratizes access to quality VC education. VC University has two distinct components: VC University ONLINE, an online certificate course, and VC University LIVE, three-day, in-person course held in partnership with universities across the country. Venture Forward is proud to offer a limited number of full scholarships for each program.

LP Office Hours – Half-day events that connect emerging managers from historically underrepresented groups with Limited Partners (LPs), experienced General Partners (GPs), and each other.

VC Human Capital Survey – Led in partnership with NVCA and Deloitte, this survey captures critical data on the workforce at venture capital firms; develops a baseline understanding of demographics within the VC industry; and uncovers the current state of diversity and inclusion across the industry.

Venture Forward also leverages the great work other organizations around the ecosystem are doing to accomplish aligned goals. Industry resources, events, and research are collated on the Venture Forward website to help newcomers and those active in the industry navigate these.

Venture Forward has a separate board from NVCA. The Venture Forward Board of Directors includes:

The Team:

Venture Forward is funded through the generous support of our corporate donors, individual donors, and VC firms.

Corporate Founding Donors:

  • Silicon Valley Bank (Anchor-level)
  • Deloitte (Angel-level)
  • Gunderson Dettmer (Partner-level)

Individual & VC Firm Founding Donors:

85+ leaders in the VC industry.

View the full list of corporate and individual donors here. 

Contributions are tax-deductible as permitted by law. To learn more about financially supporting Venture Forward, please view the donation options here and contact Maryam Haque at maryam@ventureforward.org.

Anyone in the venture ecosystem or looking to enter VC is encouraged to engage with Venture Forward: