William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Top LGBTQ VC Funds

Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness are essential for creating a fair, supportive, and thriving environment. These concepts apply not only to organizations but also to society as a whole.

Imagine a world where everyone gets a pair of shoes— that's equality. Diversity is when everyone gets different types of shoes. But equity is different; it's about getting a pair of shoes that fits perfectly. Acceptance is when we understand that we all wear different types of shoes. And belonging is when we feel free to wear the shoes we want without fearing judgment.

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

Now, the question is: Who are the angel investors driving business development in the LGBTQ community? Who are those funding creatives and innovators to create fitting shoes for everyone?

In this blog, we shine a spotlight on 10 VC founders who are supporting entrepreneurs and startups from the LGBTQ community, providing early stage investments and everything else they need for success to these innovators.

Key Takeaways
  • Entrepreneurship is a powerful path to success for LGBTQ+ individuals, and it's crucial to support and encourage their ventures.
  • Leading LGBTQ+ VC partners include Patrick Driscoll, B. Pagels-Minor, Ben Stokes, and others who are making a difference in the LGBTQ+ entrepreneurial landscape.
  • Take action and be part of the movement to empower LGBTQ+ founders, entrepreneurs, and investors, creating a world where everyone can thrive and prosper regardless of their background or identity.

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning and financial management here. More on disclaimers here. For professional guidance on investment choices, our trusted financial advisor is your go-to expert.

Top LGBTQ VC Funds

VC Fund

Here are some of the top LGBTQ VC funds that are making a difference in the investment world:

  1. Alpaca VC
  2. AngelVest
  3. Angelsquare
  4. Backstage Capital
  5. Baroda Ventures
  6. Bessemer Venture Partners
  7. Chase Capital Partners
  8. Chiratae Ventures
  9. Craft Ventures
  10. Debut Capital
  11. Define Ventures
  12. Elevate Capital
  13. Female Founders Fund
  14. Flatiron Partners
  15. Gaingels
  16. General Catalyst
  17. MicroVentures
  18. Moai Capital
  19. OnLine Partners
  20. Pole Capital
  21. Project A Ventures
  22. SeedInvest
  23. Slow Ventures
  24. Town Hall Ventures
  25. Tusk Venture Partners
  26. U-Start
  27. Ventech
  28. Ventech China
  29. Wefunder
  30. XFactor Ventures

Keep in mind that the rankings and statuses of these funds might change over time, so it's essential to research each fund's current status, focus areas and investment criteria before considering any investment opportunities.

Ensure that you also seek guidance from a qualified financial advisor. They can provide valuable insights and help you evaluate the available options based on your specific investment objectives.

Now, let's explore the founders and partners of these VC funds who are leading the way in promoting equity and inclusivity.

Top LGBTQ VC Founders and Partners

Patrick Driscoll (Chasing Rainbows)
Patrick Driscoll

Patrick Driscoll is a General Partner at Chasing Rainbows. Before joining this venture capital firm, he played a significant role in supporting LGBTQ+ investors and startups at StartOut and Gaingels across the U.S., Latin America and Europe. At Gaingels, he led LGBTQ+ angel groups and collaborated with Google, 500 Global, and government organizations to explore emerging startup ecosystems. Patrick also sourced deals, including Ureeka, for Gaingels.

His expertise extends to global VC education programs with 500 Global, where he partnered with prestigious institutions like Stanford, Berkeley, INSEAD, as well as several corporations and law firms. Through this, he has built a strong network of Limited Partners (LPs) and General Partners (GPs) across the U.S. and around the world, providing training to over 350 individual VCs.

Additionally, Patrick has successfully managed accelerator programs focused on national security, funneling $20 million in funding to 22 startups like eVisit, Zainar and Promethium, all of which have raised subsequent rounds of funding. His extensive experience and contributions make him an invaluable asset to Chasing Rainbows and the LGBTQ+ community in the investment landscape.

B. Pagels-Minor (DVRGNT Ventures)
B. Pagels-Minor

B. Pagels-Minor is the Founder of DVRGNT Ventures, an investment firm that focuses on helping businesses in the Midwest, South and Mountain West regions of the United States. With more than ten years of experience, B. has worked with big companies like Apple and Netflix.

B. has earned impressive awards like being recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. They have also received honors from the Queer 50 and LGBTQ Nation, including being named Hero of the Year. B. is actively involved in making a difference and serves on the board of directors for organizations like Howard Brown Health, which is dedicated to supporting LGBTQ rights, and the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

DVRGNT Ventures was established in 2022, and it's located in Los Angeles, California. The firm's goal is to invest in startups at different stages, from the early prototype to the seed stage.

Their mission is to support and invest in exciting new businesses and entrepreneurs in the Midwest, South and Mountain West regions of the United States. With B. Pagels-Minor leading the way, DVRGNT Ventures is making a strong commitment to empower and uplift businesses in these regions.

Ben Stokes (Chasing Rainbows)
Ben Stokes

Ben Stokes is the Founding Partner of Chasing Rainbows, an investment fund that focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ founders and ensuring they have better access to funding. Ben has experience both in startups and big companies, making him a great advocate for early funding opportunities for LGBTQ+ founders.

Chasing Rainbows is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco, and it was established in 2021. Their mission is to create a level playing field for founders who might not have easy access to funding networks. They specifically aim to be like a "friends and family round" for LGBTQ+ founders who might face challenges due to family disapproval or biases from traditional funding communities.

At Chasing Rainbows, they invest in pre-seed tech companies led by LGBTQ+ founders, as well as Black and female founders. The firm is also involved in supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs through the StartOut Programming Board.

One of their recent investments was in companies like Tomtex and SoundMind. With Ben Stokes leading the way, Chasing Rainbows is making a positive impact on the startup world, making sure that underrepresented founders get the support and resources they deserve.

Kelly O'Connell (360 Venture Collective)
Kelly O'Connell

Kelly O'Connell is a managing partner at 360 Venture Collective, a venture firm that funds and supports pre-seed and seed-stage US companies led by women and LGBTQ+ founders. She specializes in the future of work, inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation. With a background in mergers & acquisitions and executive roles, Kelly now focuses on connecting purpose and profit and helping inclusive leaders.

She assists companies in optimizing performance through inclusion and innovation and provides funding and advisory support to underestimated founders. Kelly serves on advisory boards like StartOut, University of California, Riverside’s Design Thinking Program, Simmons University AAEB, and Start Giving Local, which she founded.

360 Venture Collective is a venture firm with an inclusive investment approach. They fund and accelerate early-stage American companies led by underrepresented founders in fintech, healthcare, human resources/workforce, proptech, and nonprofit sectors. Their mission is to provide funding, resources and support to innovative founders who often face challenges accessing venture capital funding.

Arlan Hamilton (Backstage Capital)
Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton is the founder and managing partner at Backstage Capital, a venture capital (VC) firm that focuses on investing in women, people of color and LGBTQ+ founders. She also founded Runner, a labor marketplace connecting startups with operations professionals seeking part-time work.

In 2015, Arlan Hamilton started Backstage Capital from scratch, even while experiencing homelessness. Based in Los Angeles, this VC firm has invested millions of dollars in over 200 companies led by underrepresented founders. Some of the companies they've invested in include Altro, Lorals, Plural, Mahmee, and One/Off.

Backstage Capital is dedicated to supporting the best startups in the U.S. that are founded and led by underrepresented individuals. They aim to level the playing field by providing funding and resources to founders who may not have had equal access to opportunities in the past. Their focus on diversity and inclusion makes them an essential player in the VC world, helping to drive innovation and change in the startup ecosystem. The firm has numerous portfolio companies.

Densil Porteous (Pride Fund 1)
Densil Porteous

CEO of LOUD Capital's Pride Fund 1, a $10 million venture capital vehicle that invests in companies led by LGBTQ+ founders or firms serving that community.

This endowed Fund is a permanent resource to nonprofit organizations providing programs and services to LGBTQ+ youth, adults, families, and seniors in areas such as health and wellness, arts and culture, housing, education, and training.

The fund was founded on values such as transparency, honesty, accountability and high-level due diligence. And the team strives to empower LGBTQI+/queer entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and our communities through investment and uplift.

The fund is an early stage venture fund that provides resources and capital to venture ready businesses with a focus on LGBTQI+ ventures and founders and entrepreneurs at the pre-seed, seed, and A stage. As a venture partner, they cultivate knowledge and experiences for entrepreneurs and the community. The firm's ultimate aim is to inspire LGBTQI+/queer founders and entrepreneurs to thrive and prosper.

Jackson Block (LGBT+ VC)
Jackson Block

Jackson Block is the vice president of Jump Capital and a co-founder of LGBT+ VC, a nonprofit organization that addresses the scarcity of LGBTQ investors in financial markets. Their mission is to create a global wealth movement of LGBTQ and allied investors and professionals, supporting the prosperity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals.

From historic events like Stonewall to the cutting-edge environment of Silicon Valley, LGBT+ VC is dedicated to advancing the LGBTQ and allied venture capital community and making a positive impact in the financial world.

Tiana Tukes (LGBT+ VC)
Tiana Tukes

Tiana Tukes is the co-founder of LGBT+ VC, a New York-based nonprofit focused on advancing the LGBTQ+ and allied venture capital community.

In early 2023, LGBT+ VC made history as the first nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting venture capitalists within the LGBTQ+ and ally community. With a bold vision to partner with 10,000 LGBTQ+ and allied investors by the end of the year, LGBT+ VC is generating enthusiasm among aspiring entrepreneurs and legacy venture capital firms alike for the nonprofit's bright future.

Stephanie VanPutten
Stephanie VanPutten

Stephanie VanPutten is an Executive in Residence at The Equity Alliance, which supports diverse emerging venture capital fund managers. She is also the founder and executive director of Visible Figures and BlendScore.

The Equity Alliance, established in 2020, is a fund-of-funds investment firm located in New York. It aims to invest in emerging venture capital funds.

Visible Figures, founded in 2017 by Stephanie VanPutten, has collectively raised $2.1 billion in capital. It was created in response to the digitalundivided Project Diane 2016 report, which highlighted the limited number of Black women who had raised $1 million or more in venture capital. Visible Figures fosters a network that supports and connects women and non-binary executives navigating the challenges of raising, managing, and growing institutional capital.

BlendScore is a developer of inclusive recruiting and analytics software designed to combat unconscious bias. Their software sources job candidates from various strategic partners and universities and presents them to recruiters without names, photos, or age information. This helps reduce unconscious bias related to race, gender, LGBTQ, veteran, and disabled identities in the hiring process.

Lorenzo Thione (StartOut)
Lorenzo Thione

He is the co-founder of StartOut, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and fights against discrimination in the business world. Additionally, he works as a managing director at Gaingels, a venture capital investment firm.

StartOut, established in 2009, is dedicated to promoting the economic empowerment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer entrepreneurs. They have a strong network of over 18,000 members attending events in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Austin, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Denver. Their mission is to ensure that every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has an equal opportunity to succeed, lead, and shape the future workforce.

Gaingels, founded in 2014 and based in Burlington, Vermont, focuses on investing in early to growth-stage companies, primarily in the technology, B2B, healthcare, and consumer sectors.

Supported by JP Morgan Chase & Co., Gaingels released The StartOut Pride Economic Impact Index, a groundbreaking research initiative that highlights the significant contributions of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to the economy and uncovers their untapped potential.

Don't Walk Alone

LGBT entrepreneurs standing together in a pride parade

You too can seize the opportunity to make a lasting impact in the world of entrepreneurship and venture capital by championing diversity and inclusivity. By supporting LGBTQ+ founders and investing in LGBTQ+ VC funds, such as Alpaca VC, AngelVest, Backstage Capital, and others, you can foster a more equitable and prosperous future.

Take on the task and challenge unconscious bias, promote diversity, and actively engage in creating an environment where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur feels empowered and encouraged to pursue their dreams.

Work with these investors and together break down barriers, drive meaningful change, and build a world where innovation knows no boundaries and where every individual has an equal opportunity to lead and succeed.

Remember, before delving into any investment opportunities, it's essential to seek guidance from a qualified financial advisor. They can provide valuable insights and help you evaluate the available options based on your specific investment objectives.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings, based in Palo Alto, is a well-known wealth management firm that specializes in financial planning, investment advisory, and risk management. What makes them unique is their approach of effectively managing overall risk and volatility, rather than just focusing on maximizing returns.

Under the leadership of founder William Huston, Bay Street is recognized as one of the two Black-owned firms among the nineteen recognized in California. They earned a finalist position in the Asset Managers: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion category at the 2023 WealthManagement.com Industry Awards for their collaboration with Resthaven Properties in real estate.

Bay Street also shows its commitment to diversity and support for emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs as a finalist in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category for the Asset Manager in 2021. This recognition followed a rigorous selection process involving over 900 nationwide firms, demonstrating their dedication to making a positive social impact.








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