Chicago:Blend

Chicago:Blend is a collaborative effort of venture capitalists in Chicago who know that diverse teams and inclusive environments are critical foundations for both the startups we invest in and our own venture firms.

Opportunities for Engagement

For Venture Capitalists
Sign on as a VC Supporter, see how your firm compares to others, submit candidates for The BlendList, and consult it when you’re helping portfolio companies fill independent board seats.

For Startup Employees
Encourage your VCs to sign on as a VC Supporter, see how your company compares to others, access diverse candidates, submit candidates for The BlendList, and consult it when you’re filling independent board seats.

For Everyone Else
Sign up to receive updates, check out our resource database, review our data, and submit candidates for The BlendList.

Contact Information

VC University ONLINE September 2021 Scholarship Cohort

Welcome to the September 2021 Scholarship Cohort of VC University ONLINE!

We’re thrilled to welcome 45 aspiring and early-career investors to the September 2021 cohort of VC University ONLINE scholarship recipients!

VC University ONLINE, a highly-reviewed certificate program led by Venture Forward, NVCA, and Startup@BerkeleyLaw, democratizes access to quality education on venture capital. Participants learn the nuts and bolts of venture finance through self-paced lectures, interactive assessments, virtual office hours, webinars with faculty and industry experts, and interviews with leading venture capitalists.

The September 2021 cohort will serve 200+ participants. This marks the 8th sold-out program, which has now served more than 1,400+ participants and awarded 222 full scholarships.

The scholarship program supports the professional development of new and aspiring VCs from historically underrepresented backgrounds, through educational opportunity, mentorship, and more.

Introducing the June 2021 Cohort of VC University Scholarship Recipients

The seventh sold-out cohort of VC University ONLINE begins June 1, 2021!

Serving approximately 200 participants per course, VC University is an educational certificate course, jointly operated by NVCAVenture Forward, and Startup@BerkeleyLaw. Participants learn the nuts and bolts of venture finance over the course of several weeks through self-paced lectures, interactive assessments, virtual office hours, monthly webinars with faculty and industry experts, and interviews with leading venture capitalists.

Thanks to the generous financial support of our sponsors, Venture Forward was able to offer 43 full scholarships to attend VC University ONLINE, to underrepresented, aspiring and early career VCs.

In this blog post, Venture Forward provides more details about the program, and highlights the 43 talented scholarship recipients who were competitively selected to participate in the  June 2021 cohort.

Report: Why New Black Venture Capital Will Generate Outsized Returns and Help Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Why New Black Venture Capital Will Generate Outsized Returns and Help Close the Racial Wealth Gap” – a new report by Culture Shift Labs.

 

About Culture Shift Labs:
Culture Shift Labs (CSL) is a diversity and innovation consultancy that provides services under three pillars: Advising, Strategy, and Activation. Since 2006, we have been a recognized leader in integrating social and financial returns in ways that improve businesses and society. Our Knowledge + Network Formula powers those outcomes in tangible ways

 

Report: Guidance and Best Practices for Investors on Diversity & Female Entrepreneurship

Guidance and Best Practices for Investors on Diversity & Female Entrepreneurship is a report published by the British Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

The report was commissioned by the Alison Rose Review and HM Treasury, and includes tactical guidance for investors to create an inclusive pipeline and portfolio. It was inspired by broad recognition in the investment community that diverse and inclusive portfolios have substantially lower risk and better performance.

 

High-level, the report recommends:

  • Implementing specific tactics to recruit diverse talent to your investment firm
  • Adopting specific practices to create an inclusive culture at your investment firm
  • Using tried-and-tested strategies to remove bias from the investment process
  • Engaging with portfolio companies using validated tools and tactics
  • Signing up to the Diversity VC standard

Fairview Capital’s 2020 Market Review of Woman and Minority-Owned Private Equity and Venture Capital Firms

This 2020 report by Fairview Capital examines the state of woman and minority-owned private equity and venture capital firms.

The following report shares key trends and data observed by Fairview in 2020.

  • The universe of woman and minority-owned firms now totals over 500 and continues to grow rapidly
  • New firms are raising smaller pools of capital and first-time funds represent a larger proportion of the opportunity set than ever before
  • New firm formation activity is most significant in venture capital, a segment of private equity that has proven highly resilient
  • Diverse managers continue to feature a natural diverse multiplier effect at the portfolio company level, while at the same time, firms explicitly targeting woman and minority entrepreneurs are at an all-time high
  • The need for intentionality and genuine programmatic approaches to backing woman and minority-owned firms is at peak levels

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.

 

 

Contact Information

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.)