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Venture capital has been hailed as the positive vehicle of change driving innovation, economic growth and job creation. Startups representing less than 1% of all US businesses receive institutional venture funding. In turn, these companies produce economic output that amounts to 42% of US market capitalization and nearly ⅔ of publicly traded research and development initiatives. Although this data substantiates VC’s outsized impact on the economy, this impact persistently fails to reach historically undercapitalized communities. Companies founded by men and individuals who are white represent 94% of all institutional venture capital investments. Comparably, employees of VC-backed startups are still disproportionately male (89.3%) and white (71.6%). These findings call into question whether VC is an economic harbinger of good. Instead, it can be argued that VC is a tool that facilitates rapid exacerbation of wealth inequality and invites us to explore what viable, equity-promoting alternatives exist.

In this Ask Me Anything (AMA), Jeremy Evans-Smith, co-founder of Full Cycle, will discuss equity-promoting alternatives to VC funding for undercapitalized communities.