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Top 25 Silicon Valley VCs Least Likely To Invest In Founders Of Color

This article was submitted by Brooke Sinclair at Bias Rehab Center. Contact Brooke for amendments or make a change [email protected].

Jesse Draper, the founding partner of female-focused Halogen Ventures, wrote a column entitled “Investing in Women isn’t a Fucking Charity,” about the sad and painful realities of being a woman in a male-dominated field and how “boneheaded,” financially, it is to not invest in women.  “On a macro level, the lack of diversity in the industry is a problem because it means most of the money flows to types of founders VCs understand — businesses with white men of a certain socioeconomic background as their target customer,” Draper wrote. “It means fewer great businesses have the opportunity to thrive.”

Venture capitalists advise portfolio companies not to spend too much time fundraising, but is that advice applicable to founders of color?  Only 1% of venture-backed companies are led by Black founders.  That means in a room of 100 funded founders in a room, only 1 of them is Black and in my experience it takes a founder of color 12-36 months longer to raise capital than their white counterparts.  The longer the fundraising process, the more time a CEO must spend away from their core business activities.  As much as Black Founders appreciate the office hours, offers for mentorship, and your perspective based advice, what Black Founders really need from investors are checks.

“Stop talking about diversity and start investing in a more diverse startup ecosystem,” said Alexis Snelling, Founder/CEO, SheTransacts.

In order to do that you need the collective wisdom and expertise of other founders and a support system that will help you stay accountable and get feedback and input about the things you’re working on.

Data proves that companies led by female and non-binary founders outperform all-male teams, so we shouldn’t be at a disadvantage as we go out and speak to investors. But unfortunately sometimes our gender overshadows our presentation, and is ironically seen as a negative before an investor even looks at our deck.

SheTransActs provides a dual investment opportunity in not only an over-performing asset class but also in creating more prosperous opportunities for yourself in the future by increasing the pool of successful founders to invest in.

Empowering women leads to lasting change.  The “new normal” of sustainable investing in a more diverse and prosperous startup ecosystem for all.


Black Founders List is meant to be a source of truth with regards to the state of funding for Black founders. The initial data set is self-reported information on our google sheet and Crunchbase’s API. Moving forward we will continue to work with Crunchbase while also collecting data directly from Black founders and investors.  Black Founders List serves as a running historical record of Black founders and the investors who invested in them.

Here are the top 25 Silicon Valley venture capital firms least likely to invest in founders of color (in alphabetical order):

Accel

Accel, formerly known as Accel Partners, is an American venture capital firm. Accel works with startups in seed, early, and growth-stage investments. The company has offices in Palo Alto, California, and San Francisco, California, with additional operating funds in London, India, and China.

Founded: 1983

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

Founders: Jim Swartz, Arthur Patterson

Subsidiaries: ACCEL PARTNERS LIMITED, Accel Partners Management LLP

Type of business: Privately held company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1,432
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
2
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT):
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
542
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Bain Capital Ventures

Bain Capital, LP is one of the world’s leading private multi-asset alternative investment firms with approximately $105 billion of assets under management that creates lasting impact for our investors, teams, businesses, and the communities in which we live. Since our founding in 1984, we’ve applied our insight and experience to organically expand into several asset classes including private equity, credit, public equity, venture capital and real estate. We leverage our shared platform to capture cross-asset class opportunities in strategic areas of focus. With offices on four continents, our global team aligns our interests with those of our investors for lasting impact.

Founded: 2001

Parent organization: Bain Capital

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
416
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
542
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
198
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Battery Ventures

Battery Ventures is a global, technology-focused investment firm. Founded in 1983, the firm makes venture-capital and private-equity investments from offices in Boston, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Israel and London.

Headquarters: Boston, MA

Founded: 1983, Boston, MA

Founders: Rick Frisbie, Howard Anderson, Bob Barrett

Number of employees: 60+

Parent organization: Battery Management Company, LLC.

Subsidiary: Jeeves Information Systems

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
689
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT):
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
262
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Bessemer Venture Partners

Bessemer Venture Partners is an American venture capital firm. The firm has over $5 billion under management and invests globally, with offices in San Francisco, Redwood City, New York City, Boston, Israel, and India.

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Founded: 1911

Type of business: Privately held company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
951
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
2
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
327
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
2
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Canaan Partners

Canaan Partners is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in visionaries with transformative ideas. While we love speedy success, we’re acutely aware that greatness comes in many forms and at different times. That’s why we’re not afraid to break the mold to bring something spectacular to life.

Headquarters location: Menlo Park, CA

Founded: 1987

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
608
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
211
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

CRV

Charles River Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in technology. The firm was founded in 1970 to commercialize research that came out of MIT. Its name comes from the Charles River that starts in Hopkinton and divides Boston and Cambridge.

Founded: 1970

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

Number of employees: 20

Total assets: 4.3 billion USD

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
508
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
139
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

DCM Ventures

DCM is a venture capital firm with over $4 billion under management. Since 1996, we have invested in more than 400 technology companies across the U.S. and Asia. With offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing, and Tokyo, DCM empowers our entrepreneurs with hands-on operational guidance and a global network of business and financial resources.

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
504
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
156
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Foundation Capital

Foundation Capital is a venture capital firm located in Silicon Valley. The firm was founded in 1995, and in 2012 managed more than $2.4 billion in investment capital.

Founded: October 1995

Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

Number of employees: ~ 30 worldwide

Founders: Kathryn Gould, Bill Elmore, Jim Anderson

Type of business: Privately held company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
537
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
148
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

GGV Capital

GGV Capital is a global venture capital firm that invests in seed-to-growth stage investments across Consumer/New Retail, Social/Internet, Enterprise/Cloud and Smart Tech sectors. The firm was established in 2000 in Singapore and Silicon Valley and manages $6.2 billion in capital across 13 funds.

Assets under management: 6.2 billion USD

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Founded: 2000

Key people: Jixun Foo, Jenny Lee, Glenn Solomon

Type of business: Privately held company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
608
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
220
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
1

Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City. It offers services in investment management, securities, asset management, prime brokerage, and securities underwriting.

Stock price: GS (NYSE) $226.42 +1.77 (+0.79%)

Nov 18, 12:33 PM EST – Disclaimer

CEO: David M. Solomon (Oct 2018–)

Founded: 1869, New York, NY

Headquarters: New York, NY

Revenue: 36.55 billion USD (2019)

Founders: Marcus Goldman, Samuel Sachs

Subsidiaries: Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, MORE

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
769
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
310
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Index Ventures

Index Ventures is a European worldwide venture capital firm with dual headquarters in San Francisco and London, investing in technology-enabled companies with a focus on e-commerce, fintech, mobility, gaming, infrastructure/AI, and security.

Founded: 1996

Total assets: 3.7 billion EUR

Type of business: Private Company

Number of employees: 70+

Founders: Neil Rimer, Giuseppe Zocco, David Rimer

Subsidiary: Hexavest

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
814
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT):
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
309
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Intel Capital

Intel Capital is a division of Intel Corporation, set up to manage corporate venture capital, global investment, mergers, and acquisitions.

Founder: Avram Miller

Founded: 1991

Headquarters locations: United States, Santa Clara, CA

Parent organization: Intel

Please note Intel Capital have only been tracking diversity numbers since 2015 and not from the inception of their program.

2015 – 2020

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
246
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
10
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT):
4%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
[not available]
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
9
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
1
Updated January 24, 2021

Kleiner Perkins

Kleiner Perkins, formerly Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is an American venture capital firm which specializes in investing in incubation, early stage and growth companies. 

Founded: 1972, Menlo Park, CA

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Formerly: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB)

Founders: Eugene Kleiner, Brook Byers, Thomas Perkins, Frank J. Caufield

Subsidiaries: Murugan Capital, RedBrick Health, KPCB China

Type of business: Privately held company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1,172
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
329
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Matrix Partners

Matrix Partners is a US-based private equity investment firm focusing on venture capital investments. The firm invests in seed and early-stage companies in the United States and India, particularly in the software, communications, semiconductors, data storage, Internet or wireless sectors.

Founder: Paul Ferri

Founded: 1977

Assets under management: 4 billion USD (2019)

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Subsidiaries: Matrix Partners India Advisors LLP, Matrix Partners China

Type of business: Venture capital

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
540
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT):
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
167
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Menlo Ventures

Menlo Ventures is a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California with an additional office in San Francisco, California. The firm was founded as one of the earliest venture capital firms in Silicon Valley in 1976 and provides technology venture capital funding for seed, early stage and growth companies.

Founder: H. DuBose Montgomery

Founded: 1976

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Number of employees: 20

Type of business: Privately held company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
594
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
211
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

New Enterprise Associates is an American-based venture capital firm. NEA focuses investment stages ranging from seed stage through growth stage across an array of industry sectors. With over $20 billion in assets under management, NEA was the world’s largest venture capital firm in 2007.

Founded: 1977

Headquarters: Chevy Chase, MD

AUM: Over $20 billion

Number of locations: 9

Founders: Dick Kramlich, Frank Bonsal, Chuck Newhall

Subsidiary: New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd.

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1,646
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
3
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
612
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
1

Polaris Partners

Polaris Partners is an investment firm that has partnered with entrepreneurs in the fields of healthcare and technology. The firm has partnered with enterprises in various stages of development. Polaris has offices in Boston, Massachusetts, and San Francisco, California.

Founded: 1996

Assets under management: 4 billion USD

Headquarters: Waltham, MA

Number of employees: 35

Founders: Steve Arnold, Terry McGuire, Jon Flint

Subsidiary: LS Polaris Innovation Fund Management, L.L.C.

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
534
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
173
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

RRE Ventures

Based in New York City since 1994, RRE is deeply entwined with the city’s startups and enterprises as a wave of technological transformation shapes the future of both. RRE partners with the entrepreneurs driving these massive changes, putting our expertise, networks and decades of experience to work helping founders navigate the challenges of building a category-defining business.  Current areas of focus include enterprise software, consumer, fintech, media, real estate tech, robotics, healthcare, new space, and more. Notable exits include Business Insider, Wisdom Tree, Managed by Q, Makerbot, Vine, Concur, Proofpoint, Watchguard, and Whiptail. Notable current companies include Buzzfeed, Noom, BARK, Camp, One Drop, Clearpath Robotics, Olo, and Digital Currency Group.

Founder: James D. Robinson III

Founded: 1994

Headquarters location: New York, NY

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
494
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
129
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Sequoia Capital

Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital firm. The firm is headquartered in Menlo Park, California and mainly focuses on the technology industry. It has backed companies that now control $1.4 trillion of combined stock market value.

Founder: Donald T. Valentine

Founded: 1972, Menlo Park, CA

Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Subsidiaries: Sequoia Capital India Advisors Private Limited, MORE

Type of business: Privately held company

Areas served: United States, India, China, Israel

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1,341
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
2
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
479
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
2
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

SOSV

SOSV is a venture capital and investment management firm that provides seed, venture and growth stage funding to startup companies in the technology sector. The company’s focus is on accelerating startups via their market specific seed accelerator programs located in Europe, Asia and the USA.

Founder: Sean O’Sullivan

Founded: 1995

Headquarters location: Princeton, NJ

AUM: $700M+

Subsidiaries: IndieBio, MOX | Mobile Only Accelerator, Chinaccelerator, HAX Accelerator, FOOD-X, dLab

Parent organization: HAX Accelerator

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1,751
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
4
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
816
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
3
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
3

Tencent Holdings

Tencent Holdings Ltd, also known as Tencent, is a Chinese multinational technology conglomerate holding company. Founded in 1998, its subsidiaries globally market various Internet-related services and products, including in entertainment, artificial intelligence, and other technology.

Stock price: TCTZF (OTCMKTS) $75.59 -0.01 (-0.02%) | Nov 18, 12:56 PM EST – Disclaimer

Owner: Naspers (31%)

Founded: November 11, 1998

Revenue: 377.3 billion CNY (2019)

Headquarters: Shenzhen, China

Number of employees: 62,885 (2019)

Founders: Ma Huateng, Chen Yidan, Zhang Zhidong

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
479
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
277
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Venrock

Venrock, a compound of “Venture” and “Rockefeller”, is a venture capital firm formed in 1969 to build upon the successful investing activities of the Rockefeller family that began in the late 1930s. Offices in Palo Alto, California, New York City, and Boston, Massachusetts.

Founder: Laurance Rockefeller

Founded: 1969

Headquarters location: Palo Alto, CA

Type of business: Limited liability company

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
634
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
199
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
0

Wayra

Wayra is present in 7 hubs with activity in 10 countries in Europe and Latin America, with a clear objective: help startups to scale. We have a portfolio of over 400 startups. The very best of them will have unparalleled access to our global network of 350 million customers and clients in 24 countries. Wayra offers a unique and smooth interface between entrepreneurs and our network of corporates, governments and other partners, adding value to the ecosystems where we are present.

INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
 1,155
BLACK INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
1
BLACK INVESTMENTS (PERCENT): 
0%
LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 
61
BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0
BLACK WOMEN INVESTMENTS (TOTAL):
0

Early in 2020 Yonas Beshwared (stackshare.io) and James Norman (pilot.ly) were talking about their journeys as Black founders and the topic of “who else is out here” came up. Hours later, they found themselves in a google sheet, scouring Crunchbase with their friend Sefanit Tades to see if they could find every venture-backed Black founder ever.

Written by Startup Funding

7 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Hello,

    Thank you for offering to help support start up business. My team and I are interested in starting an intermediate health care business.

    any suggestions, feedback or support you may have that would be helpful is greatly appreciated.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Thank you for this information. It would also be very helpful to hear which firms are most likely to invest in founders of color.

  3. Hello, I think there’s a typo under Bain’s Black Lead investments. Says 198?

    BLACK LEAD INVESTMENTS (TOTAL): 198

  4. All these big box firms, drain the innovators time. They are seeing 100’s of business plans per month. Clearly when an idea outside the box takes place. Most are incoherently paying attention to the pitch deck and the founder’s elevator. What they just see the money pit and when the divided risk to capitalize on taking advantage of equity gain, not having any emotion of connection to the actual product or idea. This is why I hate dealing with people that are sharks; no real meat in the game! Everyone has funds, but everyone waist your time and energy when trying to knock on doors with no invite! I’m doing something that’s never been done in America! Why nobody else thought about doing this before?!?!?!?! First to the Quantum PV Solar Race on American soil!

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