New York VC Firms Join Forces To Drive Diversity In Startups


A group of 70 venture capitalists in New York City have come together to form the Venture Access Alliance, pledging their commitment to increasing diversity in the city’s startup ecosystem. The Alliance is part of the Venture Access NYC initiative, launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), which aims to provide more opportunities for diverse talent in the venture capital industry.

Key Takeaway

The Venture Access Alliance, comprised of 70 venture capitalists in New York City, aims to boost diversity in the city’s startup ecosystem. Partnering with organizations like the Ford Foundation, the Alliance encourages firms and investors to collect diversity data and increase the number of women and minorities hired and funded each year. This initiative aligns with Mayor Eric Adams’ economic recovery plan and seeks to leverage New York City’s unmatched diversity to create a robust and inclusive innovation hub.

Partnership for Progress

The Alliance, chaired by Jarrid Tingle of Harlem Capital and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, has partnered with organizations like the Ford Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, and Tech:NYC to promote diversity in the city’s tech landscape. By encouraging firms and investors to collect diversity data and hire and fund more women and minorities, the Alliance aims to track progress and implement programs to support and develop diverse talent.

Creating an Inclusive Ecosystem

The launch of the Venture Access Alliance signifies a strong commitment by New York City to create an inclusive ecosystem that benefits both the city’s economy and innovation. According to Tingle, “Creating an inclusive ecosystem is the right thing to do, but it also ensures that NYC is not leaving GDP and innovation on the table.”

The NYCEDC released its latest diversity in venture capital report, emphasizing that diverse founding teams demonstrate higher investor returns compared to all-white teams. Additionally, the report highlighted data from Cambridge Associates, showing that new and emerging fund managers consistently perform well. This underscores the importance of investing in diverse founders and supporting diverse talent in the industry.

Expanding the Alliance

The Venture Access Alliance already boasts notable members such as Citi Impact Fund, M13, Streetlife Ventures, and Primary VC. While the Alliance is still in its early stages, members are hopeful to begin collaborating in the coming months. The initiative aligns with Mayor Eric Adams’ economic recovery plan, which aims to provide underserved entrepreneurs with increased access to capital.

Given that nearly 30% of businesses in New York City are minority-owned, with Black-owned businesses experiencing significant growth, the mission of the Alliance is crucial. The goal is to leverage the city’s diversity and establish an inclusive innovation hub that outshines others globally.

Leading by Example

At a time when questions about the effectiveness of DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) policies are being raised, the NYCEDC’s efforts to drive diversity and inclusion in venture capital are essential and timely. The recent passing of California SB 54, which mandates firms in the state to disclose their diversity breakdown, has intensified debates around policy-driven diversity. Private organizations, like the Venture Access Alliance, are taking action to increase diversity on their own terms.

The Alliance draws inspiration from initiatives such as PledgeLA, launched by the Annenberg Foundation and the City of Los Angeles. The NYCEDC believes that local efforts like the Venture Access Alliance can serve as a model for other cities nationwide. The hope is for this collaboration to expand beyond New York City, ultimately creating a more inclusive and diverse venture capital landscape for the entire country.

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