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Venture Capital – LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Funding Resources

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer entrepreneurs often struggle well beyond their heterosexual start-up counterparts in many areas of business. One, in particular, is raising funding in the form of venture capital and operational working capital funding to launch and grow their business. Most businesses will need to apply for some sort of working capital during their lifetime. Traditional loans are not always an option to many LGBT business owners due to the lengthy paperwork required and strict rules and guidelines, and discrimination from the staff of traditional VCs/Banks/Leading Companies/Financial Institutions who have historically favored heterosexual white males. Progress towards diversity in entrepreneur funding is happening, yet continues to be slow.

Several financial companies and organizations have stepped up to aid LGBT entrepreneurs in acquiring the capital they need to see their vision to reality and continue its growth trajectory.

We’d like to consider this an active and growing list. If you are aware of a company or organization that providing funding and capital targeting the LGBT entrepreneur, we’d appreciate you using the Contact Us form and provide a link to their primary website so that we may review their info and potentially add them the resource list below.

If you contact any of the below, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would let them that you learned about them here on OutBüro.

LGBT Venture Capital Funding

1. Diversity Fund

Note: this site does not have SSL active, yet still live.

Diversity Fund - LGBT Employees Rate Employer Review Company Employee Branding OutBuro - Corporate Workplace Equality Gay Lesbian Queer Diversity Inclusion

We’re out to change the world of business finance!  Founded by LGBT with a focus on LGBT and other minorities.
Diversity Fund is a new business finance platform that unites rewards, lending, and equity finance provides sophisticated tools for investors to evaluate each deal and company and is fun and engaging for everyone!

Through Diversity Fund, an entirely new generation of entrepreneurs can finance their venture or expansion by immediately reaching thousands of potential investors who support their goals. Diversity Fund opens the world of business finance to entirely new sets of entrepreneurs and investors and leverages crowdfunding to even the playing field to the rest of us. Founded in Austin, Texas, Diversity Fund seeks to become a leader of small business finance and a trusted source for both entrepreneurs and investors. We’re excited about Diversity Fund and hope you are too. Be sure to register, so that we can send you information and news. Also, subscribe to our e-newsletter and check out our social links for more!

Backstage Capital - LGBT Entrepreneur Venture Capital Startup Funding Gay Business Owner Resources

2. Backstage Capital

Less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, People of Color, and LGBT founders. Other VCs see this as a pipeline problem. We see it as the biggest opportunity in investment.

Backstage Capital has invested more than $4M+ in over 80 companies led by underrepresented founders.  Backstage Capital is backed by Anthemis Group who at its foundation is dedicated to diversity.

LGBT Capital - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

3. LGBT CAPITAL

LGBT Capital was established in 2010 with a focus on the LGBT Consumer segment as a credible investment sector and to demonstrate the business case for advancements in LGBT equality and inclusion.

Since then and to support these aims, LGBT Capital has pioneered the development of an LGBT Diversity Investment Index with a complementary Institutional Investment methodology, developed Statistics and Research to demonstrate the potential of the LGBT Consumer Sector, and launched the first international specialist LGBT Wealth Management offering as well as an LGBT focussed Property Portal. LGBT Capital also works with a number of quality LGBT focused businesses to support their investment plans and growth.

LGBT Capital’s portfolio is guided by a primary focus on a sound business opportunity while actively supporting the advancement of LGBT Equality and Rights globally We prefer to work closely with clients and partners towards achievable goals. We will advise, but prefer to help structure, implement and execute. We believe in the power of Impact Investing and in particular that Impact Investing can support the progression of LGBT freedoms and inclusion globally. We also believe that the growth of quality LGBT businesses, particularly in developing markets, will play a key part in further developing LGBT freedoms and quality of life.

Google Ventures - LGBT Venture Capital Gay Business Funding Resources Lesbian Entrepreneur Startup Community OutBuro

4. GV

Formerly known as Google Ventures, GV was launched in 2009 to serve as the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. Since then, it’s invested in over 300 startups within the life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cybersecurity, and agriculture industries. Some of these startups include Walker and Company, Tala, and Vida.

Google Ventures is very open to exploring relationships of entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

We believe in the power of spending time together face to face. Whether we’re hosting a summer BBQ, celebrating Pride, or playing softball, you’ll find us with our portfolio founders and their teams.

Startup52 LGBT Venture Capital Gay Business Owner Funding Resources Lesbian Professional Community OutBuro

5. Startup52

Startup52X is focused on grooming extraordinary startup founders to launch highly successful and profitable ventures. We especially like teams that have at least ONE founder from underrepresented communities in tech. These include people of color, women, entrepreneurs who are – veterans, with disabilities, immigrants, LGBTQ, etc. We hope to increase diversity in startup and tech spaces while launching outstanding ventures.

Startup52 is an early-stage accelerator based in New York City. As the first sole diversity-focused accelerator in NYC, Startup52 was founded by Chike Ukaegbu to identify and groom outstanding entrepreneurs, especially those from untapped and under-tapped communities. Our main goal is to increase diversity in startup and tech spaces.

We run two cohorts a year with up to 15 outstanding ventures per class. Startup52’s ecosystem of partners, mentors, advisers, industry experts, investors and more, helps our ventures and founders thrive well even under the daunting challenges of startup entrepreneurship.

Our program follows an intensive structure that implements strategy aimed at uniquely helping startups develop an effective framework for decision making in focusing, aligning, executing and delivering against strategic adaptive and growth initiatives. This, we hope will lead to launch, longevity, and successful exits.

Our community of mentors, advisers, experts, serial entrepreneurs and  more, are successful people, who have sold businesses, held executive positions at large companies, have advanced degrees from ivy league schools, are current entrepreneurs, among other great accomplishments.

AngelList - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

6. Angel List – LGBT Market

AngelList is a U.S. website for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. Created in 2010, the platform has a mission to democratize the investment process and to help startups with their challenges in fundraising and talent. It started as an online introduction board for tech startups that needed seed funding. Since 2015, the site allows startups to raise money from angel investors free of charge.

The LGBT Market on AngelList is a resource to consider.  Companies listed include HER and HORNET along around 150 other LGBT entrepreneur-owned businesses and worth investigating as a potential venue for exposure to angel investors

7. Connectivity Capital Partners

Connectivity Capital Partners is a venture capital firm that funds early-stage startups. Through the efforts of its Chief Investment Officer, Denmark West, the firm advocates for diversity in technology by supporting extraordinary startup founders regardless of their background.

Republic - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

8. Republic – LGBT Startups

As an LGBT entrepreneur, you are a champion of your brand.  With Republic you can create a crowdfunding campaign that does more than attract small investors – it aids in creating brand ambassadors.  Not LGBT specific as a platform, yet via your network and the compounded social influence that has you can spread your fundraising efforts to the audience of your making coupled with an active investor pool of 350,000 current members.   In May 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enacted Title III of the JOBS Act, allowing non-accredited investors — the majority of the US population — to invest in startups. But the complicated legal requirements demanded a founder and investor-friendly, easy to use platform to make startup investing truly accessible while adhering to legal requirements so that it is an ethical safe space to invest from within.

That’s why we built Republic: to democratize investing and level out the fundraising landscape for founders and investors alike. We’re SEC-registered, FINRA-licensed, and if you’re at all interested in startups, you’ve heard of our past work: Republic is part of a family of startup platforms together with AngelList, Product Hunt, and CoinList — one of the most trusted online startup ecosystems in the world.

Gaingels - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

9. Gaingels

Gaingels is a profit-focused, mission-based affinity organization (a networking group of investors) which offers venture-stage investment opportunities into companies worldwide that have at least one LGBT founder, senior C-level executive, or board member.

Our members put great effort into assisting the companies we invest in. In turn, exceptional founders seek out this type of assistance to produce strong returns.

We also invest directly in venture funds, accelerator partners, and charity partnerships, including our own scholarship and mentoring program.

Intel Capital Diversity Fund - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

10. Intel Capital – Diversity Fund

Announcing the Diversity Initiative, the largest venture capital resource ever created to focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs. This $125M commitment, part of Intel’s groundbreaking diversity efforts, will ensure that funded entrepreneurs enjoy the access to business development programs, global network, technology expertise and brand capital their talents deserve.  Focusing on both the seed-stage and expansion phases, Intel Capital – Diversity Fund invests in technology, environmental or social mission driving startups, and must be within the U.S.

Background:

In June 2015, Intel Capital announced the venture industry’s largest-ever commitment to invest in technology companies led by women and underrepresented minorities (African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans).

Initially envisioned as a five-year, $125 million fund, the Intel Capital Diversity Initiative was expanded in October 2016 to also invest in startups led by entrepreneurs living with disabilities, U.S.-based entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ community, and U.S. military veterans.

In May 2018, Intel Capital announced that the Diversity initiative had exceeded its initial $125 million investment target more than two years ahead of schedule. Through September 2019, we have invested $381M in companies led by diverse teams; such companies make up 15 percent of our active portfolio.

500 Startups - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

11. 500 Startups – LGBTQ SYNDICATE

500’s mission is to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems.

We believe that great founders come in all shades, genders, and nationalities.

Since our inception, we’ve made it our mission to find and empower talented founders, whether they’re across the world or overlooked in our own backyard.

Diversity has always been a core value at 500. We’re committed to being champions of the global VC community, not as it is, but as we’d like to see it.

At 500, we don’t just slap a poster on the wall about diversity – we know that LGBT founders, mentors, and investors are a huge part of what makes our #500Strong family so great. In 2014, we even launched Rainbow Round to highlight great entrepreneurs and do more community outreach.

Pipeline Angels - LGBT Venture Capital Entrepreneur Startup LGBTQ Business Funding Resources Gay Owner Lesbian Professional Community OutBuro

12. Pipeline Angels Funding

If you have a socially responsible business model, Pipeline is a great start. Business owners can pitch to a network of women investors through pitch summits which happen several times throughout the year in various locations. To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit, headed by a cis female, non-binary femme or transgender woman.  Our members serve as the friends and family for entrepreneurs who may not already have support at their critical startup stage.

13. DigitalUndevided

DigitalUndevided - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

DigitalUndivided understands that cultural, structural, and financial barriers have functioned to restrict the involvement of people of color in economic chances. But, black and Latina women are the fastest-growing set of entrepreneurs in the USA. BIG is more than an incubator- it’s a direct pathway into the innovation economy for women of color. The BIG process begins with START, an invite-only weekend of ideation, pitching, feedback, and networking. From this weekend, we chose the cohort of the BIG Incubator

14. Brooklyn Bridge Ventures

Brooklyn Bridge Ventures - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

Self admittedly, this is an investment portfolio that happens to take on minorities, not as a mission, but as a matter of good business as discussed in his short article here >> How to build a successful and diverse venture capital portfolio without really trying   Brooklyn Bridge Ventures manages $23 million across two funds, leading or co-leading investments of around $350,000 in New York City companies that have yet to raise $750,000 in prior rounds.  BBV is the first venture capital fund based in Brooklyn, NY and it is managed by Charlie O’Donnell.  Conversations often start pre-product and pre-deck.  The fund invests in a wide variety of sectors, so say hello.

Kapor Capital - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

15. Kapor Capital

Kapor Capital invests in tech-driven seed stage companies committed to closing gaps of access, opportunity or outcome for low-income communities and/or minority underrepresented communities in the United States.  We are open to investing in every sector, including education, work, finance, justice, food, and health.

We have invested exclusively in companies that have real potential to produce both significant financial returns and large-scale social impact by:

  1. closing gaps of access to information or goods and services; and/or
  2. expanding economic opportunity in the workplace and the marketplace; and/or
  3. increasing outcomes such as efficiency and competitiveness of market-based solutions to social and economic issues.

We seek entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, especially people of color, women and other groups that have been historically underrepresented.  We believe lived experience helps entrepreneurs identify rapidly-scalable, market-based solutions others have overlooked.

Aspen Capital Fund - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

16. Aspen Capital Fund

They construct Hispanic and Minority company success stories by giving experience for early-stage companies. They supply mentorship, strategic guidance, and technical assistance. They focus particularly on first-time entrepreneurs and first-time small business owners.

Astia Angels - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Startup Gay Lesbian Professional Community OutBuro

17. Astia Angels

Astia was founded in Silicon Valley in 1999 as a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and promoting best-in-class, high-growth ventures that include women leaders.

Astia levels the investment playing field by cultivating a trusted global ecosystem of engaged male and female investors and advisors, who offer crucial resources, including capital, networks, and expertise. Unlike most VC’s, investment firms, or accelerators, Astia provides a creative, proven approach that contributes to the success of women leaders and their ventures.

Collaborative Fund Partner - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Financial Resources

18. Collaborative Fund Partners

Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC, is a social impact and inclusion investment firm. CFP exists to “do well by doing good.” Through a multi-company investment approach, CFP is able to minimize placement risk, where most early-stage funds have failed in the past. By becoming directly involved in each company, CFP is able to maintain a quality control position with the management team and the use of funds needed to take each company into revenue and profitability.

Collaborative Fund Partners, LLC generates capital appreciation through investments in its portfolio companies that meet the Fund’s investment policies. The Fund will seek to fulfill its primary investment objective by making investments in early-stage companies that require additional equity and/or working capital in order to establish or expand their businesses

19. NewME

NewME Diversity Fund - LGBT Venture Capital Business Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Startup Lesbian Owner Finance Resources

Founded in 2011 by Angela Benton, NewME has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs through our online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators, and equity portfolio. We pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley by focusing on helping entrepreneurs identify strengths from their non-traditional backgrounds and leveraging them in business. We’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses some have even went on to raise venture capital funding. To-date NewME has helped minority entrepreneurs raise over $43MM in funding.

20. Diversecity Ventures

Diversecity Venture Capital LGBTQ Entrepreneur Startup Gay Business Owner Lesbian Founder Professional Community OutBuro

Mariah Lichtenstern’s background of building bridges between the privilege with those that are not prompted her to found Diversecity Ventures. Its focus is to invest in startups that not only aims to make a socio-economic and environmental impact but, more importantly, those that strive to promote cultural, geographic and cultural diversity.

Reach Capital Diversity Venture Capital Investing Eduction Focus LGBTQ Entrepreneur Gay Lesbian Business funding Resource Professional Community OutBuro

21. Reach Capital

Co-founded by Shauntel Poulson, Reach Capital is a venture capital firm that aims to support minority-led startups striving to help underserved communities in the country, particularly in the field of education. We invest in education because we believe itʼs our most valuable resource. It has the power to influence our course, contribute to our dreams and strengthen our communities. We invest in the people we believe in and the ideas we want to help build. Whether we are your sole investor or one of the many partners along your journey, we’ll always be there, ready to go to bat for you when necessary.

22. Black Angel Tech Fund

Black Angel Tech Fund was started by a group of successful Black entrepreneurs and angel investors after a thought-provoking panel about the lack of Black startup founders during the 2015 Stanford Black Alumni Summit. Since then, they have taken up the cause to use financial resources from successful African-Americans to support Black-owned startups. If you are LGBTQ and also happen to be African American, this VC may have interest in you.

Digitalundivided LGBT Venture Capital Busisness Funding Resources LGBTQ Entrepreneur Startup Finance Gay Lesbian Professional community OutBuro

23. Digitalundivided

Digitalundivided was founded by Kathryn Finney in 2012. Its mission is to champion Black- and Latinx-owned startups, by providing financial support and sound advice that will not only help launch these startups but also scale. If you are LGBTQ and also happen to be African American or Latinx, this VC may have interest in you.

DID continues to expand it’s impact and create true systems change through initiatives like The Doonie Fund, which has made over 1000 micro-investments in black women entrepreneurs and the expanded START program, which serves as an entry way for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs into high growth entrepreneurship.

Project Diane 2020 is set to be released in Fall 2020 and while financial impact remains a central focus, 2020 data will spotlight community impact and what it truly means to be “self-made” in the tech and innovation space.

24. KEC Ventures

Based in New York City, KEC Ventures was founded by entrepreneurs from different ethnic backgrounds and industries. This unique blend of leadership gives KEC Ventures the ability to discover and support early-stage startups founded by entrepreneurs belonging to minority groups.

MaC Venture Capital LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Finance Business Finance Lesbian Gay LGBTQ Professional Community OutBuro

25. MaC Venture Capital

We help entrepreneurs bring the future into focus to find their breakthrough moment. Our proven track record of 100+ investments has unlocked growth opportunities through capital, advisement, and relationship building. We are the result of the merger between successful Los Angeles and Bay Area based Seed funds, Cross Culture Ventures and M Ventures. We invest in technology companies that create infectious products that benefit from shifts in cultural trends and behaviors in an increasingly diverse global marketplace.

Harlem Capital Partners LGBT Venture Capital Startup Funding LGBTQ Entrepreneur Business Owner Finance Resource Gay lesbian African American Black Professional Community OutBuro

26. Harlem Capital Partners

Based in New York, Harlem Capital Partners (HCP) is a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage, minority-owned startups. Its mission is to invest in 1,000 of these types of startups within the next 20 years, with half of these being women- and minority-owned startups. HCP focuses its investments towards startups that aim to enhance financial, marketing, and operational experiences. As a solution to this challenge, HCP partners with entrepreneurs who have revenue-generating tech-enabled products or services that can leverage our financial, marketing and operational experiences to implement key processes to go from selling products to running a sustainable business.  

Dreamit - LGBT Venture Capital LGBTQ Entrepreneur Startup Funding Angle Investor Gay Business Owner Investing Finance Lesbian Professional Community OutBuro

27. Dreamit Ventures

Dreamit Ventures prides itself not only one of America’s top startup accelerators but also a catalyst of diversifying startup ownership in the country, particularly those that focus on developing Health and Urban Tech solutions.

Its partnership with Comcast Ventures aims to provide financial support and mentorship to minority-owned startups with ready-made products to help them scale through their Dreamit Access program.

28. Humble Ventures

Humble - LGBT Venture Capital Funding Resources LGBTQ Entrepreneur Startup Gay Business Owner Finance Lesbian Professional Community OutBuro

Since it was founded, Humble Ventures has invested in 47 different startups, 70% of which are those established by women and entrepreneurs belonging to minority groups. These theCut, The Mentor Method, and KweliTV. Humble Ventures’ goal is to bring to innovative startups collective human, financial, and technical resources for them to launch and scale.

We focus on diverse entrepreneurs that are solving problems for the fastest growing demographic segments. We believe that diverse entrepreneurs provide opportunities for disproportionate returns and represent the markets of the future. We know that diverse audiences are tied inextricably to the future of cities. These audiences require responsive healthcare, access to wholesome food, economic stability, education, safe neighborhoods, and tight social support to create an environments for them to thrive.

29. Founders First Capital Partners

Founders First Capital Partners - LGBT Venture Capital Funding Resources LGBTQ Entrepreneur Startup Gay Business Owner Finance Lesbian Professional Community OutBuro

Founders First Capital Partners is a venture capital firm founded by Kim Folsom with the goal of providing capital and support to startups owned by women, entrepreneurs from minority groups, and military veterans.

We fund service-based companies generating between $250K and $5M in annual revenues typically led by minority, military veterans, or woman founders. We offer Revenue-based investment (“RBI”), a new form of business financing, distinct from the preferred equity structure most VCs use and more flexible than traditional bank debt.

Its goal is to help startup founders not just launch a successful business, but also one that can be carried from one generation to another.

Valmo Ventures - OutBuro LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Angel Investor Venture Seed Capital Investing Funding Gay Professional Network Community GLBT Lesbian Bisexsual Queer

30. Valmo Ventures

Valmo Ventures is a venture capital firm founded by Valerie Mosley, a successful entrepreneur who’s made it her mission to help under-represented startup founders grow both their self-worth and net worth.

In line with this, Valmo Ventures’ mission is to create, advise, and partner with startups to transform them into valuable and profitable assets to society as a whole. Valmo Ventures creates, collaborates, and invests in companies, assets, and efforts that add value to portfolio returns and add value to our society. We believe that when we advise, invest in, and collaborate with bright, like-minded, and like-hearted individuals, extraordinary results are possible.

31. Base Ventures

While Base Ventures is still a relatively young venture capital firm, it’s already making a mark as far as bridging the gender, and ethnic gap observed among startups in the country. Already, it has raised multi-million dollar funding for startups like StyleSeat and Balanced Payments.

Much of the success of Base Ventures is owed to its founder and Managing Director, Erik Moore. A seed investor of Zappos.com, Moore is recognized as one of the top 25 Most Influential Black in Tech and is driven by his desire to change the world by investing in young entrepreneurs.

32. Precursor Ventures

Precursor Venture Capital - LGBT Venture Capital Seed Funding Angel Investor Gay Business Owner Resources Lesbian Entrepreneur Startup Finances Community OutBuro

Precursor Ventures is a venture capital firm that provides funding to pre-seed startups developing B2B and B2C software applications and services, and connected hardware. Although it’s one of the lesser-known firms, Precursor Ventures has willingly taken on the mission to ensure startup founder from diverse backgrounds are given equal opportunity to receive funding to grow and scale their businesses.

PHILOSOPHY

Precursor Ventures was founded with one simple premise. It is our belief that all entrepreneurs, regardless of background, benefit from having an institutional investor to help them scale and grow their company from the very beginning. We have built the entire firm around this premise that helping entrepreneurs get started and scale will be our life’s work. To that end, we have six core principles that drive our decisions and strategy:

We want to invest in your first institutional round of investment. We do not have requirements for traction or metrics. We want to be part of the company as early as possible. We are unafraid to back unproven, first-time entrepreneurs; unproven is not the same as incapable. We believe that the greatest returns in venture come from entrepreneurs who are capable but have not yet had the opportunity to show the world their talents and capabilities. We aggressively back entrepreneurs who have something to prove. We hold ourselves to high standards in terms of the diversity of founders we back and support. We are committed to investing in founders who represent a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of gender, race, background, academic experience and life circumstances. We are patient because building meaningful companies takes time and the rewards are great for those who participate in the entire journey. Building great companies takes time. There are no shortcuts and we know that the journey will be long but the rewards are worthwhile. We focus on long-term thinking. We value intellectual curiosity and open thinking. The best companies are built by curious founders who question everything and are open to thinking about new ways to tackle problems. We invest in early-stage companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Toronto. We are willing to consider other geographies, but we focus our energy in these locations.

No Equity Lending and Cash Flow Funding

33. Excel Capital ManagementExcel Capital - OutBuro LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Angel Investor Venture Seed Capital Investing Funding Gay Professional Network Community GLBT Lesbian Bisexsual Queer

Excel Capital Management is a proud supporter of the LGBT community, and we are here to help with all of your business funding needs! For more information on Excel and the funding solutions we offer, check out our Solutions page and APPLY NOW! For even faster service, contact one of our funding specialists TODAY at 877-880-8086

34. Wells FargoWells Fargo - OutBuro LGBT Employer Reviews Rating Diveristy Recruiting Jobs Company Sexual Orientation Policy Gay Professional Network Employee Advocacy Lesbian Queer Bisexual

Wells Fargo a national leading small business lender for eleven years and they are dedicated to supporting the business needs of the LGBT entrepreneur client community. This dedication includes being a founding corporate partner of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and strong support for LGBT inclusion with their LGBT clients and their employees. As an employer, Wells Fargo fosters a culture in which all people and their individual differences are not only accepted but celebrated.  If you’re an LGBTQ+ employee of Wells Fargo rate them here.

Final thoughts

Being an entrepreneur is never easy.  But so worth it.  You can make inroads to attaining your entrepreneurial goals.  Be smart about who you partner with for funding.  It will be a long-lasting relationship not to be taken lightly.

Bear in mind there is not any failure, only feedback. Remember that there are organizations and persons which are pushing for diversity and that encourage LGBTQ and other diversity entrepreneurs.  One such organization is the National Venture Capital Association who has listed over 40 venture funds dedicated to diversity.  We are still reviewing all those companies to validate they are worthy of including in this list in a future update.

10 Tips for LGBT Startup Entrepreneurs - OutBuro LGBT Employer Reviews Rating Gay Professional Network Lesbian Business Networking GLBT Diveristy Company Queer Bisexual Transgender

10 Tips for LGBT Startup Entrepreneurs

An increasing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer professionals are exploring the potential of starting their own company to become an LGBT entrepreneur. It sounds like an ideal job to work for yourself, to have no ceiling on your income potential, set your own daily schedule and do something you are passionate about and really believe in. And who knows. From being a dog groomer to dreams of becoming the next billion-dollar tech startup. The possibilities are almost limitless.

However, the harsh reality is, being self-employed can quickly become a burden and headache if not tackled in the right way. 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 30% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business. Such statistics are scary, but it reinforces the importance of knowing the key principles of entrepreneurship before setting off on an expensive venture.

1. Passion Drives

When looking at all the of hard work, long hours and financial commitment being passionate about what the business, industry, and clients can go a long way to sustain you during the startup and down times. Check out our article titled “Want to be an LGBT Entrepreneur? How to Start Business

2. Research It

No matter how much passion you have for something you also need to be somewhat convenienced that there is a market for your business. Check out our article titled ““>Market Research for LGBT Business Startups for a bit more information.
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3. Support

Hopefully, you have the family, a life partner, and friends who believe in your vision and support you in any way they can. If not already consider joining your local LGBT Chamber of Commerce in your area. It’s a great way to not only stir business opportunities but also to network with peers for business coaching success support. Consider finding a mentor in that group or via OutBüro to be a business coach mentor either overall or within a particular area such as marketing or finance. As a small startup, you may be very knowledgeable about what you do, but as a business owner starting out you have to wear many hats and do it all or pay for it to be done. Getting coaching guidance can help you be effective and cut valuable dollars from hiring others. If you have success and talent to share with a startup entrepreneur you may also consider being a mentor to someone else and help grow the LGBT business community.

4. You have a Life – Hopefully

Launching and growing a business can be mentally and physically draining, in addition, to financially which all can add a huge amount of stress to your life. You have to take care of yourself first, your family, love and social relationships. Schedule time for the gym or other physical activities and outings with those that love and support you. If needed actually schedule this time so that your calendar app automatically reminds you of these important activities. This will aid in maintaining a balanced life and so can give your business all your energy when it’s time to focus on that. Ensure the business doesn’t 120% consume you.

5. Start Local/Small

Every business has to start small. Even Facebook and LinkedIn had small beginnings. Check out our article titled “The LGBT Entrepreneur10 Steps to the Perfect Business Plan”. Every business no matter the industry needs to prove there is an existing market. To get a good idea of your market review our article titled “Market Research for LGBT Business Startups”.

6. Cash Flow

Entrepreneurs have varying definitions of what this means, but at its core, cash flow is the most important factor in your early business’ success or failure. Without a positive cash flow, even the best business ideas will be bankrupt.

7. Lean and Mean

It’s easy to churn through cash in the business start-up stage when new entrepreneurs put their valuable early limited funds toward things like a cool downtown office space and provide employee perks that make working in the office seem like a trip to Dave and Busters.

It’s important to keep overhead low, especially during the startup phase. Keep a lean team and don’t sign up for unnecessary ongoing expenses. There are many ways to raise business capital. For ideas take a look at our article titled “How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business”. Check out our resource article titled “LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Venture Capital Funding” for a listing of venture capital who are LGBT themselves and/or open to business owners just like you.

8. Simple and Focused

So many entrepreneurs get exuberant about investing in trademarks, patents, complicated legal agreements, and company structures. However, these can drain your funds and time when you may be better off focusing on building your product or service, creating brand recognition in the most cost-effective manner you can, and an initial customer/client base.

9. Minimum and Grow

Craw, walk and then run is a great way to consider launching your business. In business, this is also termed as the minimum viable product (MVP), which is a product/service with just enough features/services to gain early customers and provide them with the value they appreciate and that you can do well. During this time is where you’ll acquire valuable feedback from the clients/customers/users to hone and grow your product/service.

10. Just Enough Talent

As an entrepreneur, you have to do so many jobs. It’s tempting to add staff, but really consider what a minimum viable team looks like before investing in employees. Check out our articles titled “LGBT Entrepreneurs Hiring Your First Employee”, and “How to Build a Great Team in Your LGBT Owned Business”.

We hope you found this and the related articles helpful. Do you have other tips? Please comment below. Join an OutBüro to discuss topics of related business ownership with your peers. If you don’t see a group you’d like, start it or use the Support | Contact Us form to request a new group be created. You may further use your OutBüro profile to post blog articles about your business or industry and content for all LGBT professionals and entrepreneurs to learn from. It is your community. Become an active part of it today.

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How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business: Part II

So you’ve prepared yourself for the task of raising money in Part I of this guide – but now what? You’ll need to look at all the options to see which one suits your small business. So what are the best, most realistic ways to get funding?

Eight ways to raise funds

The traditional ways to raise money were through personal savings, bank loans or retirement funds. But now there’s a much wider range of possible finance sources for your new business. So which type of funding is right for you?

1 Personal savings or retirement funds

If you have some savings you could use them to finance your business. The advantage here is you shouldn’t have to pay interest on the money and you won’t have an obligation to anyone else.

Using retirement funds is another option. It may be possible for you to draw down funds from your 401(k) to put into your business.

Regulations vary between countries, so you’ll need to consult a financial adviser to see what’s permitted. Be sure to check the tax implications of using personal savings or retirement funds for business purposes.

2 Bank loans and credit

Banks can be useful sources of funding, but the loans or credit they provide will usually have to be secured. That means you’ll have to offer something of value as collateral. This could be your house, or your company’s inventory or accounts receivable ledger.

If you fail to repay the loan, the bank may then take your collateral. That could mean you have to sell your house or stock, or lose your income. So it’s not a transaction to enter into lightly.

Banks can offer the following funding services to help your company grow:

  • Loans
    These provide a specific amount of credit to purchase assets or meet financing needs. The loan is repaid based on a predetermined schedule or through monthly principal and interest payments. Interest rates are usually fixed for the life of the loan.
  • Lines of credit or business overdrafts
    These tend to be used for periodic financing. You can borrow up to your credit limit whenever needed.
  • Equipment financing
    Buying equipment can be a good option if you expect it to have a long, useful life. You may also benefit from financial advantages such as depreciation and tax deductions.
  • Real estate loans (mortgages)
    These are loans for purchasing land or commercial property.
  • Vehicle financing
    This is usually for buying or leasing commercial vehicles such as trucks or company cars.

The authority to lend to businesses has become centralized in some countries. This leaves branch bank managers with less power than they had in the past. But you’re still more likely to be given a loan if you have an existing account with the bank, since they can easily check your past financial record.

3 Credit card loans

Loans from credit card companies are usually unsecured, which means you won’t lose your house if you fail to repay the loan (though you could still be declared bankrupt).

However, the lack of collateral is reflected in the price. Credit card loans can have a higher interest rate than other types of loan ­which are often much higher.

Ask yourself if your business can afford the interest rate being charged. If your company’s profit margin is forecast to be 10% and the credit card interest rate is 15%, the numbers might not add up.

4 Government grants and small business loans

Many governments offer grants and loans to small businesses, either directly or through publicly­ funded organizations such as small business associations.

The available funds and the terminology will vary depending on the country you’re in. Small business loans, micro­loans and research grants are often available for different types of business.

Your first step should be to contact small business organizations near you, since they will help administer government loans and grants. Talk to them and find out what financial assistance is available.

5 Venture capitalists and angel investors

Venture capitalist (VC) organizations became more prominent during the late 1990s dotcom boom, and the technology field is still one of their preferred areas of operation. VCs tend to favor high ­risk and high­ reward companies that have significant growth potential.

It’s a gamble for them, but the pay­offs can be significant. They usually demand significant equity in the company in return for funding, so be prepared to hand over a large percentage of ownership if you go down the VC route.

Angel investors are similar to VCs but they tend to work with companies that are at an earlier stage of development. The money comes from wealthy individuals, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership. A recent trend is for angel investors to participate in groups, working together on research, investment capital and advice.

Venture capitalists and angel investors will want you to answer the following questions in detail:

  • How many customers do you have today and how do you plan to grow?
  • When and how will your business be profitable?
  • Who are the leaders in the company and what is their experience?

Don’t be surprised if any funding deal includes side­lining you as executive manager or director. The VC or angel investor may not think you have the skills and experience to grow the company and repay their investment. If this is the case, they could want to replace you with someone who does.

6 Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding means getting finance from a large pool of backers. Instead of asking just one or two people for money, you can ask thousands or even millions. People pledge money in return for perks and rewards when your project goes ahead, and usually this is done online. Crucially, crowdfunding sites use an all­-or-nothing funding model – either the funding goal is reached, or the project gets nothing.

Before you look at this as an option, make sure you get expert legal advice about your country’s jurisdiction on crowdfunding.

If you are able to use crowdfunding, it offers an alternative to conventional funding, with less stringent credit checks, better-­informed investors and often no need for collateral. And the funding process is often faster than it would be from a bank. This is a great option for some companies that will have struggled through recession and have poor credit ratings as a result, or others that are new and so have no credit record at all.

Crowdfunding can also provide useful feedback on your business plan. If you reach your funding goal, it’s a good indication that your plan has a realistic chance of success. If you don’t, you might need to rethink your plan.

Two of the most well­ known crowdfunding sites are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The former is US ­focused while the latter is smaller but with more international support. If you want to use either of these crowdfunding sites, you’ll need to check that they’re available from your country.

For more about crowdfunding, here’s a list of 30 people you might want to follow.

7 Peer-­to-peer lenders

Similar to crowdfunding sites, peer­-to-peer­ (P2P) lenders match borrowers and lenders directly. This is usually done via online auctions and without going through a traditional financial institution like a bank.

The rates can therefore be more favorable to both sides. Borrowers tend to pay less than bank lending rates, while lenders get a higher (though more risky) return on their savings.

While crowdfunding provides finance for new businesses or specific projects, peer­-to-peer­ lending can be used for more general purposes.

It works a lot like eBay. You post the amount you need on a peer­-to-peer­ lending site, along with the maximom interest rate you’re willing to pay. Lenders can then choose how much to lend to you, and at what rate. Examples include Prosper in the US and Zopa in the UK.

Again, like crowdfunding, the jurisdiction in your country may prevent you from using P2P lending, so make sure you get legal advice before proceeding.

8 Friends and family

It can be tempting for you to borrow money from friends and family, but it can also go badly wrong. There’s a simple psychological reason for that. Relationships are based on emotions, while business is (or should be) based on rational decisions. The two rarely mix well.

If you have a strong relationship with the friend or family member from whom you plan to borrow from, this can be a low ­cost source of finance for your business. But it can create an emotional liability as well as a financial one. This is the case particularly if you borrow from people who don’t have much business experience.

If you do decide to borrow from friends or family, have a clearly ­written legal document explaining your agreement. That way, if there are any problems later on, at least you’ll both have something in writing to refer to.

Adapt to the current financial climate

Banks are cautious about lending to small businesses at the moment. One reason for this is because they’re rebuilding the capital they lost during the financial crisis. In addition to this, many of them don’t understand the business models of some newer companies. They also tend to be more focused on real­ estate lending, because the collateral is tangible and fixed.

But low interest rates around the world mean that many cash-­rich organizations and individuals are chasing yield. If you can present a compelling business plan, you stand a good chance of getting funding from less conventional sources.

Do your research to get the best option

Crowdfunding, peer­-to-peer lending, government grants and loans, venture capitalists, angel investors and more offer plenty of possibilities. In fact, the funding landscape is changing all the time. For example, companies such as Kabbage offer working capital advances based on real­-time business metrics.

Do your homework and use good quality accounting software to test out different financial scenarios, to see what funding your business really needs. Then compare the risks and benefits of the choice. Steer clear of disreputable lenders and make sure you understand the implications for your business. When you take your time and investigate all the funding options thoroughly, you’ll find one that’s right for your business.

How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business: Part I

Starting a new business can be expensive, so it makes sense to seriously consider investment options right from the beginning. However, first you’ll need to be well prepared for the obligation that comes with getting funding, the questions to ask, and the small print to consider. So how can you prepare for this?

Challenges faced by small businesses starting out

Some businesses can be launched without much capital. For example, if you’re planning to provide remote services while working as a sole proprietor, you may need nothing more than a laptop and an internet connection.

But other types of businesses need money to get started. If you intend to launch a business that needs significant capital expenditure (such as a retail or manufacturing business or a company that employs several other people), you won’t get far without initial funding.

Seven questions to be ready to answer

Whoever lends you money will want to know you’re serious about investing it to grow your business. They will also want to know that you’ll be able to pay back the loan principal and the interest.

Make sure you have the answers to these important questions at your fingertips when talking to a potential investor:

  1. How much money do you want to raise?
  2. Will you be able to provide any collateral? What are your assets?
  3. Are you looking for debt, equity or other financing?
  4. How is your business credit rating? You can check this yourself in many countries.
  5. How is your personal credit rating? This too ­– and yes, the banks will check.
  6. How long have you been in business?
  7. What is your revenue?

Use professional accounting software to prepare charts and forecasts of your costs and revenue. This will help convince lenders that you have a solid business plan in place.

Always read the fine print

The terms and conditions of most loan agreements include the option for the lender to call in the loan at any time. That means the lender can ask for all their money back, with little or no notice, and regardless of whether you’ve been paying on time up to that point.

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be devastating. Unfortunately it happens most often during recessions, when banks and other lenders become more nervous about the likelihood their loans won’t be repaid.

This is just one reason why you should read the fine print of any loan agreement carefully. Get legal advice if necessary, and work with your accountant or financial planner to determine how much you can safely borrow. Make sure you understand all the terms of the loan before you sign.

Understand the cost of investment

When raising money for your business, you’re unlikely to get something for nothing. Your investors will want something from you in return for risking their funds:

  • For bank or credit card loans
    The cost to you is the interest rate and the risk of losing any collateral you’ve put up.
  • For angel investors and venture capitalists
    The cost is usually a percentage of ownership or control of your company.
  • For crowdsourced funds
    It’s whatever you’ve pledged to deliver in exchange for the money raised.
  • For friends and family
    It could be any of the above plus the risk of ruining a good relationship if things go wrong.

In other words, getting funding creates an obligation. It means you have a responsibility to make the most of the money you’ve been given.

That might seem like a challenge, but on the plus side it can help you to focus on your business and concentrate on making it a success.

Once you have the money, make it work for you. Use good quality accounting software to keep track of the amount you’ve borrowed, what you use it for and how much you pay back over time. Read Part II of this guide for eight ways you can raise funds for your small business.