Andreessen Horowitz Shoots a Weak Shot at Tech Diversity

By CultureBanx Team

  • Andreessen Horowitz’s “Culture” fund will be around $15 million
  • Only 3% of venture capitalists are black

Silicon Valley’s premiere $1.5 billion venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) wants to back black entrepreneurs with its new “Culture” fund, but wait there’s a catch. The fund is primarily geared towards investing in black celebrities, athletes and media figures, as it makes a shallow attempt at diversity.

Why This Matters: Kevin Durant, Will Smith and Richelieu Dennis, who's the publisher of Essence magazine, have reportedly signed on as limited partners. It will be a small fund around $15 million, and will invest alongside Andreessen Horowitz’s main fund, according to the Wall Street Journal. Andreessen Horowitz claims it won’t collect the proceeds if the fund does well, instead it will give that money to nonprofits trying to increase the presence of black people in technology.

Currently none of the 29 investment partners listed on the firms website are black. In fact across the industry 70% of venture capitalists are white, 26% are Asian and only 3% of them are black, according to Richard Kerby partner at Equal Ventures.

Former NBA player turned tech investor Baron Davis expressed his disdain with the approach these newly minted limited partners are taking. Davis told the Wall Street Journal “For me, it’s more so about finding the guys who want to participate and actually building something that can be an institution that’s for us and not an institution that somebody else owns that’s just making us rich.”

Situational Awareness: There is very little if any correlation between black celebrities and athletes moving the needle for the average minority entrepreneur. It will be interesting to see if this “Culture” fund can start to change that narative. As of now, the fund still hasn’t closed yet, so additional details like how many limited partners it will have still remains unclear.

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