Venture capitalism has long been a white male-dominated industry in the US on both sides of the aisle. Not only is there a small number of female founders (2%) raising venture capital, but there is an even smaller number of Black women VCs offering it.
SVB Financial Group (SVB) is putting their money where their mouths are to change this.
The financial partner of the innovation economy and parent company of Silicon Valley Bank recently announced the SVB Fellows Program, a fellowship program for Black, Latinx and women professionals looking to get into the VC industry.
The program is backed by the Black Venture Capital Consortium (BVCC), an organization working to increase diversity within the venture capital and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and the largest provider of specialized venture capital programming for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students.
“SVB and our partners designed the Fellows Program to create pathways for a new generation of investors to succeed in the VC industry and benefit VC firms by helping them find talent with diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas,” said Courtney Karnes, Managing Director of SVB’s Access to Innovation program in a news release. “Our aspiration is that this program will accelerate the flywheel effect of innovation investing while increasing representation in the industry.”
The SVB Fellows Program connects talented emerging professionals with distinguished VC firms, where they will serve in salaried entry-level investment roles for 1-2 years–General Catalyst, Collab Capital, Material Impact and 3×5 Partners are alreadly aligned with offering mentorship.
“The SVB Fellows Program is connecting us with talented young professionals who not only have strong foundational VC training, but also bring much-needed diversity of thought and experience to a fairly homogenous industry,” said Arum Lansel, VP of Learning & Development at General Catalyst.
“We are excited to be a founding partner in the SVB Fellows Program, connecting our network of talented young professionals with some of the top VC firms in the country and setting them on a path toward personal success and a more equitable venture capital ecosystem,” said Malcolm Robinson, Executive Director of BVCC.