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Local venture firm works with Bank of America to expand Houston’s growing tech ecosystem into Black and Hispanic communities

(PRUnderground) November 23rd, 2021

Diversity Fund Houston (DFH) is redefining equity in the tech and innovation ecosystem. The recently launched venture capital fund, co-founded by emerging fund managers Tiffany Williams, Kiley Summers, and Phillip Yates, seeks to strengthen the pipeline of Black and Hispanic tech founders in the most diverse city in the nation. 

On December 2, DFH will officially announce its $3 Million fund during a private launch event hosted by its Advisory Board of Directors at The Wortham Theater Center. Bank of America is working alongside DFH to advance racial and ethnic equality and create economic opportunity for minority entrepreneurs and communities. This initiative is part of Bank of America’s larger commitment to deploy $1.25 billion over five years to catalyze similar efforts across the private sector with a focus on health, housing, jobs and small business. 

“Bank of America’s investment into Diversity Fund Houston underscores our ongoing efforts to address the persistent gap in access to growth capital for minority-led businesses.” said Hong Ogle, president, Bank of America Houston. “DFH is well positioned to help more minority entrepreneurs scale their business ideas, which will ultimately spur job growth and increase economic opportunities across the region.” 

Historically, Black and Hispanic tech founders have faced barriers in obtaining access to capital, receiving less than two percent of venture capital funding. According to The Kauffman Fellows Research Center, diverse teams at the seed stage outperform non-diverse teams by 25 percent and have a higher multiple at exit. 

“DFH is partnering with investors who are committed to racial equity within the venture capital market,” said Tiffany Williams, co-founder and managing director for DFH, and the first Black female fund manager in Houston. “This is not only an opportunity to increase deal flow and expand the pipeline of investable startups in the Houston ecosystem, it supports Black and Hispanic founders of early stage companies with the runway they need to succeed.”

Despite being under-resourced, Black and Hispanic communities continue to show resilience by outperforming financial industry norms by 35 percent; developing innovative solutions to solve challenges that culturally impact their locales across a national economic spectrum.

“Investing in underrepresented founders is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” says Grace Rodriguez, startup ecosystem veteran and Co-Chair of the DFH fundraising committee. “These entrepreneurs are opening up diverse markets — and creating new ones — by inherently developing solutions for communities that need them, communities that they themselves come from, that haven’t already been exploited or saturated by the mainstream.”

“One of the most pressing challenges that African American and Latino entrepreneurs face is access to capital,” said Phillip Yates, co-founder and managing director for DFH. “Oftentimes, these talented individuals from our communities lack an established network of professionals, friends, family, colleagues, and other significant institutions that can provide needed capital. DFH’s model will convene the necessary resources, capital and networks that will position startups to attract investors and stakeholders that will take their businesses to the next level and prepare them for institutional financing.” 

“We are the ‘Friends and Family’ of Venture Capital,” said Yates.

Along with its community partners, Houston Area Urban League, Hello Alice, Impact Hub Houston, Equiliberty, DivInc., and Prairie View A&M University, as well as an endorsement from Mayor Sylvester Turner, DFH is providing minority founders with a voice and a seat at the table within the venture capital community, ultimately creating generational wealth. With additional capital, these entrepreneurs will contribute to closing the income divide that has affected the lives of underserved communities throughout the Houston area. 

“As an early stage, diverse-focused venture fund, DFH presents an opportunity to reimagine innovation, leverage our diversity and completely disrupt the tech space by funding and nurturing an untapped, overlooked demographic,” said Williams.

About Diversity Fund Houston

Diversity Fund Houston (DFH) is a micro venture fund created to invest in Houston-based Black and Brown tech founders during the “friends and family round,” as well as provide opportunities for them to learn, scale, and prepare for their first institutional round of financing, as well as solve problems uniquely impacting their communities. For more information, visit thediversityfund.com or contact Phillip Yates at 713-259-6877 or phillip@thediversityfund.com.

The post Black Entrepreneurs Launch Diversity Fund Houston to Address Racial Disparity and Invest in Underrepresented Tech Founders first appeared on PRUnderground.

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