At Village Capital, we know that successful entrepreneurs come from everywhere — small cities, rural areas, and communities that are off the beaten path from traditional investment dollars. Our country faces a wide range of real-world challenges, and we recognize that the people tackling them come from a range of backgrounds, perspectives and places.
Because of this, Village Capital is proud to be a signer of the Diversify Access to Capital Pledge — a White House initiative announced today focused on finding, training, and investing in entrepreneurs from under-represented backgrounds. We are glad to join over 25 other funds, accelerators, and incubators in the United States that have signed this pledge, committing to working with more men and women who are not the usual targets of business development and investment work.
As an investment firm, we believe it is critical to find and catalyze entrepreneurs from all across our country and all walks of life. But right now, where you are located and who you are is linked to the brunt of investment dollars. 78% of startup funding goes to people in 3 states (California, Massachusetts, and New York). Less than 5% of startup capital goes to women, and less than 1% to people of color.
We at Village Capital are honored to back entrepreneurs writing a very different story. Since our founding in 2009, we have trained over 500 entrepreneurs all around the world, and invested in 70. The founders we invest in are largely from under-represented backgrounds in technology: 90% are from outside California, Massachusetts, and New York; 40% are women; and 20% are people of color. The solutions we support are being brought forth by all of us, not just a small minority.
We partner with industry leaders like PayPal and Blackstone Charitable Foundation to build engaging, strategic partnerships for the founders we support – and to improve their chances of growing and scaling. We support these entrepreneurs with tailored programs to build peer communities and introduce ventures to customers and investors.
Most importantly, we teach founders to evaluate each other’s businesses as investors. Then we invest our own capital based on their decisions. Peer selection from companies in similar sectors effectively turns the investment pyramid on its head, changing the dynamic and combatting implicit bias in investment. Over the past 7 years, we’ve made 70 investments – 38% of these in women founders, and more than 20% in entrepreneurs of color.
We’re not alone. In 2015, we launched an initiative to empower ecosystem leaders across the country to catalyze their own entrepreneurial communities. We’re now working with 16 incredible groups all across the nation – from Propeller and the New Orleans Start-up Fund, to 1871 and WiSTEM in Chicago, and many more. Now every one of these groups is using the Village Capital method of investing – peer selection.
The DAC Pledge involves reaching out to diverse communities, partnering with others, and setting goals to mentor and support people who too often lack access and opportunity to capital. These actions describe the core of who Village Capital is, and how we operate. The pledge reiterates what we already do, and will do more of: reduce the divide between capital and entrepreneurs. Inclusion drives innovation and creativity, and is critical to the success of our companies, communities, and country.
Village Capital is committed to democratizing entrepreneurship, making it truly inclusive and participatory. The DAC Pledge is one more step in extending the values and actions that we are built upon, and creating results.
CEO, Village Capital
Village Capital has worked in 25 cities across the United States, building entrepreneurial ecosystems and investing in 70 companies that are growing nearly 200% year on year in revenue.