The Black Venture Capital Consortium (BVCC) and the Ford Foundation closed a $7.5 million fund that students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will help manage while learning from experienced venture capitalists.
Less than 2% of venture capitalists are people of color. And studies have shown that white investors tend to be racially biased in their investment choices. To BVCC and Ford, this new fund aims to address both sides of such investment transactions, particularly to increase the number of venture capitalists from underrepresented backgrounds.
“The $7.5 million venture fund, a first of its kind for HBCU students, is the final component of BVCC’s comprehensive two-year venture capital training program,” said Malcolm Robinson, executive director of BVCC. “Top HBCU students who work on the student venture fund as well as participate in BVCC’s other training programs will graduate with up to two years of venture capital experience.”
Students from the following HBCUs will work on the fund: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Prairie View A&M University, and Delaware State University.
“Being an HBCU student, I normally would not have this type of opportunity to work directly for a venture capital fund prior to my graduation,” said Kendall Lemons, a student at Prairie View A&M University, one of the fund’s HBCU partners. “Gaining more investment experience is key to crafting one’s self as a future investor. BVCC is now allowing us to get that experience year-round.”
Depeisha McGruder, the chief operating officer of the Ford Foundation, has joined the Board of Trustees of the general partner for the student venture fund.
“As a proud graduate of Howard University, I know firsthand the wealth of talent and initiative that exists at HBCUs and the transformative impact these students can have on the industry,” said McGruder. “I cannot wait to see what they produce in the months and years to come.”