Today The White House announced the Diversify Access to Capital Pledge. A group of angel investors, venture capitalists and startup accelerators comprised of more than 30 organizations pledge to increase access to seed and early-stage capital to entrepreneurs from diverse groups. These participating organizations represent more than 11,000 accredited investors deploying more than $800 million in investment dollars across the country.
VVM CEO Liz Roberts, who wrote the pledge said, “Our goal is to catalyze early seed investors to fund startups founded by entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups who historically have had less access to capital. This is one of VVM’s core values and, frankly, common sense when it comes to finding the best investments, innovations, and startups.”
VVM, funded in part by the MassMutual Foundation, is honoring this commitment through training and mentoring diverse entrepreneurs. To date, VVM has graduated 174 startups via their Mentorship and Accelerator programs. In last year’s accelerator cohort, approximately 50 percent of the startups were women-led and 36 percent led by persons of color.
Other local firms such as the Springfield Venture Fund also signed the pledge and are also invested in making a difference.
“We are thrilled to be a signer to the Diversify Access to Capital Pledge and garner national recognition for helping to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Western Massachusetts,” Jay Leonard, co-manager, Springfield Venture Fund.
In October, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Commerce Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship invited Liz Roberts as a part of a select group of angel investors and those working to create more angel and seed capital to a conversation at the White House. This group worked to identify best practices in stimulating broader access to risk capital for entrepreneurs, including for entrepreneurs from backgrounds historically and currently underrepresented in science and tech entrepreneurship. The pledge was an organic byproduct of that meeting. For more information, visit dacpledge.org.