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
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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 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.
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.
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’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.
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.
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
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.
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:
- closing gaps of access to information or goods and services; and/or
- expanding economic opportunity in the workplace and the marketplace; and/or
- 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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Fargo
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.
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.