VentureNext

VentureNext is a professional peer group of rising venture capital investors who work with, manage, and run venture capital investment funds. Our members are based across the country and united by an interest in investing in Midwestern companies.

VentureNext members get access to monthly deal-flow calls, exclusive networking events, educational resources, and mentorship. Learn more at https://www.venturenext.vc/

Opportunities for Engagement

 

Experienced VCs
Experienced VCs are invited to volunteer as mentors to support the rising venture talent of the Midwest. (We welcome mentors from anywhere in the US!)

 

Early-Career VCs who are interested in investing in the Midwest
VentureNext’s core focus is to connect and elevate the next generation of VC investors with an interest in investing in Midwest deal flow. Early-career investors are invited to become members of VentureNext, in order to:

  1. Establish a knowledge network through various programming events and networking opportunities.
  2. Provide mentorship and mentoring opportunities, and
  3. Participate in monthly deal flow sharing calls.

Start the process of becoming a member by submitting your information at the bottom of this page.

 

 

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Institutional Investors Must Help Close the Race and Gender Gaps in Venture Capital

In this Harvard Business Review article by Ilene H. Lang and Reggie Van Lee, the authors discuss the role of institutional investors in addressing the race and gender gaps in their investment portfolios.

Recruiting for diversity in VC (TechCrunch)

Like many industries with a high concentration of wealth — and the careers that help professionals accumulate it — investment firms have a severe dearth of diversity in their ranks.

VC OpenDoor

Though VC OpenDoor, investors are working to make the technology industry more inclusive and to help underrepresented groups gain access to venture capital and experienced tech mentors. VC OpenDoor volunteers commit to making 1 to 4 hours per week open for office hours to talk to anyone about technology, whether they’re an African American college student in Virginia or a person of color interested in IT. This group of investors has committed over $2.1m, and more than 170 hours per week for open office hours to date.

Opportunities for Engagement

Investors
Investors willing to volunteer their time are asked to commit 1 to 4 hours per week for office hours to talk to anyone about technology, whether they’re an African American college student in Virginia or a person of color interested in IT.  Interested investors can sign up to volunteer, here.

Underrepresented Founders and Entrepreneurs
Founders and Entrepreneurs of color who are interested in speaking with one of VC OpenDoor’s volunteer investors may request a meeting by filling out this form. VC OpenDoor will then work to match entrepreneurs with an investor based on the details of the request. (However, a match is not always guaranteed.)

The questions LPs can ask for due diligence on diversity and inclusion in VC

It is widely recognized that improving diversity and inclusion in the venture capital and private equity industries is the right thing to do. Not only that, but there is strong evidence that increasing diversity will lead to better returns, increased talent retention and more creativity.

Diversity VC has put together a list of questions which Limited Partners can use to ask GPs at venture funds questions during the due diligence process to better understand their approach to diversity and inclusion. The first set of questions is taken from the ILPA guidance, the second has been compiled by Diversity VC in discussions with GPs and LPs in Europe and the US.

If you would like to add any questions, or if you have any comments, please email check@diversity.vc.

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)

Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) prepares Black, Latinx, and Indigenous rising leaders to land and thrive in high-trajectory jobs and opportunities that deliver immediate and lasting upward socioeconomic mobility. We propel our Fellows on their paths to leadership, which has the added benefit of lifting their workplaces, families, and communities.

 

Opportunities for Engagement

Black, Latinx, Indigenous Students (Undergrad and MBA)

MLT propels current undergraduate, MBA students, and experienced professionals into high-trajectory opportunities that achieve economic mobility. Undergraduate students can complete MLT’s Career Prep program for career exposure and work experience at one of MLT’s Fortune 500 corporate partners. MLT’s MBA Prep and Professional Development Fellows gain guidance, mentorship, and access to a rewarding business school experience and professional opportunities. MLT’s experienced professionals gain ongoing career support and have the opportunity to partake in MLT’s Career Advancement Program, gaining guidance on executive-level career development.

Employers (including VC Firms)
MLT has a growing talent base of ~7,500 Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Fellows and professionals equipped with the knowledge, skills, and guidance to succeed in business school and in corporate workplaces ranging from tech, finance, consulting, venture capital, and more. Employers can recruit pre- and post-MBA talent at the early, mid, and senior level career touch points from our multiple programs and alumni community. Interested employers can visit the MLT Partnerships page.

Individuals/Unique Business Opportunities
MLT’s community offers a multitude of opportunities to individuals seeking to boost their brand, share opportunities, and/or source business opportunities. These include speakerships, donor opportunities, sourcing of investment opportunities within our Black and Brown founder community, volunteering, mentoring, coaching, branding, the sharing of opportunities, and others. Interested individuals can email Nomzana Augustin, Community Engagement, at naugustin@mlt.org.

 

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The Manager’s Guide to Inclusive Leadership — Small Habits That Make a Big Impact

From the immediate need to hold space for Black employees right now and lead vulnerable discussions with your team, to the long-term behaviors that build a welcoming culture, in this post from the First Round Review, the team at LifeLabs helpfully distills inclusive leadership into its four most essential habits:

  • Inviting and displaying authenticity
  • Cultivating self-awareness and curiosity
  • Seeking out and responding well to feedback
  • Lifting up other perspectives consistently.

Paradigm

Paradigm is a consulting firm that designs data-driven strategies, implements programs with impact, and trains employees and leaders for success.

While Venture Forward does not endorse commercial products, Paradigm produces a great deal of research, resources and events that they make available to the public for free.

 

Paradigm Events: Learn about the latest diversity, equity, and inclusion research, trends, and tactics used by best-in-class companies at one of Paradigm’s events. From full-day, interactive Paradigm DEI Labs to timely webinars, Paradigm’s events are designed to help drive impact.

Inclusion Insights: Paradigm’s magazine contains recent news, articles, press releases, information on upcoming events, and white papers, showcasing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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Allyship In Action: How to Support Black Colleagues Right Now

One of the most powerful ways we can work to end racial injustice and support Black people without putting the burden on Black people is through educating ourselves.

Paradigm has put together this excellent list of resources to support anyone seeking to educate themselves about racial injustice.

Allyship In Action: How Managers Can Support Black Employees Right Now

In this resource by Paradigm, they’ve outlined specific recommendations for managers seeking to support Black employees.

As a manager, you play a pivotal role in how your team navigates this incredibly challenging time. While it’s helpful for employees to hear from company leaders, it is equally critical that they feel directly supported by you as their manager. If you proceed with “business as usual,” it sends a message to people that you don’t believe this is an important topic worthy of time and conversation. To Black employees in particular, it can send a message that you don’t value them.

So, how do you lead your team through this difficult time, particularly when it can be hard to find the words to say, and when different team members may need different things?

10,000+

high-growth startups—across all 50 states and DC—raised venture funding in 2019 to build and grow their businesses.

42%

of all U.S. IPOs from 1974 to 2015 were venture-backed companies, representing 63% of the market capitalization and 85% of R&D.

2.9 million

is the average net jobs created annually between 1980 and 2010 by high-growth startups, which account for ~50% of gross jobs created in the U.S.

1,300+

U.S. venture firms are active today, managing an aggregate of $444 billion in assets.