Institutional titans are starting to "put their money where their mouths are", committing substantial funds to the development of a diverse tech workforce pipeline. Intel has committed $300 million to further diversity efforts over the next five years, and Apple pledged $50 million to support non-profit organizations in creating inclusive job opportunities.

diversity

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While investments in the job pipeline is important, investment in the companies led by diverse founders is perhaps even more important. More diverse acqu-hires, a company acquiring a company for its talent, can be an effective way to expand the tech talent pipeline. Initiatives like spotlight successful founders and companies ripe for aquistion.

Through #ProjectDiane (www.projectdiane.com), digitalundivided has identified a number of visionary investors who are seeing opportunities in diverse deal flow and making investments, not charity donations, in gender and racial diverse companies.

Top Investors Investing in Diverse Startups

William Crowder

Image Credit: Twitter.com

Investor: William Crowder
Fund(s):Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund and DreamIt Ventures
Fund Size: $20 Million
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Mercaris, Maker's Row, Techturized
Why He's a Rockstar: William leads the Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, a $20M early stage venture fund that invests in diverse entrepreneurs and tech startups. He has been the lead or supporting investor of high-profile startups such as FOCUS Fellow '12 Mercaris, Maker's Row, and Quad Learning. He also is a partner in the DreamIt Ventures accelerator program.

Kesha Cash

Image Credit: Kesha Cash via e-mail

Investor: Kesha Cash
Firm: Impact America Fund
Size of Fund: over $10 million
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Mayvenn and ConnXus,
Why She's a Rockstar:
Kesha is one of the few black women leading her own impact venture fund (GIIRS rated). In 2010, she founded Jalia Ventures, investing in over 10 mission-driven companies. She's made bold investments in innovative companies like Mayvenn, which supports thousands of solopreneur hairstylists in creating another source of livelihood through direct selling without having to hold or buy inventory.

Erik Moore

Image Credit: Twitter.com

Investor: Erik Moore
Firm: Base Ventures
Size of Fund: around $20 million
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Pigeon.ly,
Why He's a Rockstar: Moore was an early investor in Zappos- turning a $50,000 seed investment into a $2 Million dollar return. He was one of the early supporters of the Justin.tv and Pigeon.ly.

Ben Horowitz

Image Credit: Twitter.com

Investors: Ben Horowitz
Firm: Andreessen Horowitz
Size of Fund: Over $4 billion
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Aglocal, Walker & Co.
Why He's a Rockstar: Horowitz and his firm were early investors in companies like Facebook and Twitter.. He is known as the "hip-hop" VC for his relationships with notable stars like Nas and Mc Hammer.

Charlie O' Donnell

Image Credit: Charlie O' Donnell via e-mail

Investor: Charlie O'Donnell
Firm: Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
Size of Fund: $8.3 million
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Vixxenn
Why He's a Rockstar: Charlie O'Donnell founded Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, where he is a Partner. BBV is the first venture capital fund to be located in Brooklyn, and is one of a few venture firms to invest in a start-up led by a black woman founder. The fund focuses on seed stage companies in and around the NYC area.

Kanyi Maqubela

Image Credit: Kanyi Maqubela via e-mail

Investor: Kanyi Maqubela
Firm: Collaborative Fund
Size of Fund: Undisclosed
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Walker & Company Brands; Balanced
Why He's a Rockstar: Kanyi Maqubela is an entrepreneur and early-stage operator in consumer technology. He was on the founding team for Doostang, which was acquired by Universum Global in 2011, and One Block Off the Grid which was acquired by Pure Energies Group in 2012. He currently serves as a Venture Partner at Collaborative Fund.

Dave McClure

Image Credit: Linkedin.com

Investor: Dave McClure
Firm: 500Startups
Size of Fund: $125 million
Notable Minority Companies Backed: Mayven
Why He's a Rockstar: Dave McClure is a venture capitalist & founding partner at 500 Startups, an internet startup seed fund and incubator program founded by ex-Google and ex-PayPal employees. 500 Startups has been an investor in hundreds of companies all over the world including MakerBot, Twilio, Wildfire Interactive, SendGrid, and Credit Karma, among others.

Published on: Apr 9, 2015