The opportunity

By now, most of us are all aware of the apparent disparities in VC deal flow to Black- and brown-led startups. Since 2015, just over 2% of VC flowed to Black and Latinx-led startups, according to Crunchbase. Closing this opportunity gap between early-stage Black & brown-led startups and VC will require us all to think differently about how we do business and how we invest in businesses. Our founder, Anthonia Carter, is a PhD student at Cornell University and an interdisciplinary researcher on a mission to reduce disparities in (venture) capital allocation.

Over the summer of 2021, Anthonia will lead a research study conducted at Cornell with venture capitalists (analysts, associates, principals, and partners) and limited partners to brainstorm ways to reimagine early-stage evaluation of investment deals. The aim of the study is to:

  • Discover new ways to reach early-stage Black and brown-led startups with the potential to one day become multi-million or billion dollar “unicorn” companies.
  • Investigate the source of disparities in VC allocation.
  • Translate research findings with investors into action by cultivating the next wave of Black and brown-led startups to raise capital.

The details

The research study is stage-gated into two phases, which are (1) “Understanding the Current VC situation” and (2) “Reimagining Early-Stage VC evaluations.” Both stages are an hour long and are described below.

Investor Study session one

Understanding the current VC situation (1 hour):

A semi-structured interview to discover current strategies, policies, processes, and motivations around deal flow and early-stage due diligence processes. Outputs from the first sessions are insights on current allocation processes, which may uncover blindspots in deal flow.

Investors who participate in the first session will have the option to continue onto session two, “Reimagining Early-Stage VC Evaluation,” if interested. Whereas session one is a semi-structured interview, session two is more interactive, taking a design sprint format.

Investor Study session two

Reimagining early-stage VC evaluations (1 hour):

Challenge-based, speculative, and future-oriented activity to explore and reimagine the early-stage evaluation process of investment deals. Outputs from the second session are alternative methods of defining early-stage evaluation processes.

Additionally, general insights from the study will be used to develop future programming and outreach to support early-stage Black/brown-led startups to become venture ready. To learn more about our current initiatives for founders, visit here.

Call for participation

Attention VCs and limited partners: Interested in exploring opportunities to reduce disparities in VC allocation to Black and brown-led startups? Join Anthonia over the summer of 2021 to brainstorm ways to reimagine early-stage evaluation of investment deals.

Please reach out to Anthonia Carter (, Principal Investigator, for more information. You can also book a 15-min chat with her here.