Base10 is raising a new $250 million fund and doubling down on diversity in venture investing

Adeyemi Ajao and TJ Nahigian — cofounders and mananging partners of venture firm Base10

Base10, which was cofounded by Adeyemi Ajao, one of the most prominent Black venture capitalists, is announcing that it is raising its second venture fund.
At $250 million, the follow-on fund will be bigger than its first, a $137 million investment vehicle that was already the largest Black-led venture fund.
Base10 has a much more diverse group of founders than the typical venture firm, in large part because it has looked for investments that are off of Silicon Valley’s well-trodden paths, Ajao said.
As part of the new fund, the firm is stepping up its commitments to promote diversity and inclusion, including by committing to give 1% of firm and general partner profits to organizations that support such causes.
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As the managing partner and cofounder of Base10, Adeyemi Ajao has been something of a quiet exemplar and champion of diversity in the venture capital industry.

Now he’s hoping to do even more for the cause, and in a much more public way.

Ajao, who is of Nigerian descent, grew up in Spain, and came to the US 12 years ago, has already managed the largest Black-led venture fund, and 60% of the founders that his $137 million fund has backed are women or people of color. On Friday, he and Base10 are announcing a second fund, even larger than the first at $250 million. Ajao and his team plan to follow much the same strategy they used with the first fund that led it to invest in such a diverse group of founders.

But beyond that, Ajao and fellow managing partner TJ Nahigian are committing to donate 1% of their own individual and firm overall profits each year to support organizations that fight for racial equity, and encouraging other venture firms to follow their lead. They’re also hoping to work with other firms to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry, including by sharing their own strategies.

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Thanks in part to the new funding, “We’re now more visible, and we do think that with more visibility comes more responsibility,” Ajao told Business Insider in an interview Thursday. Base10 could have just taken the long view and continued doing what it was doing already, he added, but Ajao and his team thought “there might be an opportunity to do more.”

Base10 has a different investment method than most venture firms

Unlike SoftBank and Andreeseen Horowitz, which recently announced funds that are explicitly designed to back founders of color or those from underserved communities, Base10 hasn’t made such a commitment either in its first fund or its second. What it has done is to intentionally break out of the standard way of doing business in the venture industry.

Many venture firms rely on a kind of pattern recognition — they tend to fund founders who look like the investors on their team, many of whom are former successful startup founders themselves. Since those investors are largely white and male, live in Silicon Valley, and come from top-ranked universities, the entrepreneurs they invest in typically …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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