Venture Forward Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Welcomes Two New Board Members

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Contact: Sabrina Fang
Phone: 703-283-2091

Venture Forward Celebrates One-Year Anniversary Welcomes Two New Board Members

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.

Publicly launched on June 16, 2020, Venture Forward was created to meet the growing needs of the venture capital (VC) industry related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), education, research, and history preservation.

“The VC community has met the rising challenges and opportunities presented by a global pandemic, playing a pivotal role in the country’s economic recovery, and galvanizing an internal industry-facing focus on DEI. Throughout our inaugural year, Venture Forward has on the frontline of these efforts to create a stronger, more diverse, equitable, and ultimately, a more just VC ecosystem,” according to Maryam Haque, Executive Director of Venture Forward.

“We’re thrilled to have Elliott and Nicole join the Venture Forward Board of Directors on our one-year anniversary. They will both bring dynamic leadership, experiences, and perspectives to our board as we enter our second year of working to improve the VC and startup ecosystem.”

“I strongly believe in the power of great teams and in the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion across all levels when building effective organizations. The venture capital industry is no different and it starts with access and educational programs such as those that Maryam and team are building at Venture Forward. I am thrilled to join such a dynamic board to help further this important work,” said Nicole J Walker.

“I’m encouraged by the renewed focus on increasing diversity throughout the venture capital industry and the broader ecosystem. All of the data shows that diverse teams and a more inclusive industry will generate better results, and I’m honored to work with the Venture Forward team through programs like VC University, which is generating needle-moving change for the next generation of underserved founders and funders alike,” said Elliott Robinson.

Since its launch a year ago, Venture Forward has led several programs and initiatives to further its mission of driving the human capital, culture, values, and narrative of VC to promote a strong and inclusive community that will fuel the economy of tomorrow.

Venture Forward highlights from the past year:

  1. Educated nearly 1,030 VC industry newcomers through four sold out VC University ONLINE cohorts and 2 VC University LIVE programs.
  2. Provided about 200 full scholarships to new and early career VC investors from underrepresented backgrounds (meet the latest ONLINE and LIVE scholarship awardees).
  3. Facilitated 100 1:1 meetings for emerging managers from diverse backgrounds with LPs and experienced GPs to learn fundraising best practices and how to navigate the GP-LP relationship at LP Office Hours.
  4. Led an educational series for 33 VC investors from underrepresented backgrounds to learn communications best practices, how to build their brand, and engage with the media.
  5. Collected, analyzed, and released workforce demographics and talent management statistics from 375+ VC firms in the third edition of the VC Human Capital Survey to track and measure industry progress, and hosted a workshop with 80+ industry leaders to continue the discussion on how to accelerate DEI progress.

Venture Forward’s work is funded through the financial support of 90+ individual and VC firm donors, and founding donors Silicon Valley Bank, Deloitte, and Gunderson Dettmer.


About Venture Forward

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. The organization provides education, resources, and connections to drive intersectional diversity within the VC community. Venture Forward enables 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, Venture Forward represents a “square one” resource to help them implement meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. Key initiatives include VC University, the VC Human Capital Survey, and LP Office Hours. Learn more at

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