Slauson & Co is one of the highest-profile of many recently formed firms, initiatives and funds – many started in the wake of George Floyd’s murder — that aim to diversify entrepreneurship. The premise of the venture capitalists working in this space is that diverse venture capitalists will fund more diverse founders, who in turn, as they succeed, will create jobs and wealth in diverse communities. The spotlight was developed from a story I originally published in Forbes.
Name: Slauson & Co.
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
Size: Slauson & Co.’s first fund, which has 70 investors, is $50 million. The firm also started a nonprofit accelerator that gives out $20,000 grants.
What it is: Slauson & Co invests in diverse founders, with an eye to sharing wealth more equitably throughout the economy. Some of the firms are tech and tech-enabled (the company’s web site says it has a focus on SAAS and consumer tech), but it has invested more widely. It invests at the pre-seed and seed stages.
Leadership: Austin Clements and Ajay Relan founded the firm in 2021. Both had a track record in venture capital. Relan had co-founded Queensbridge Ventures, and Clements had worked at Ten One Ten Ventures.
L.P.s: The firm has a long list of marquee investors, thanks in part to the hands-on involvement of Ron Conway, one of Google’s early investors. Among those, in addition to Conway: Jeff Wilke, former CEO of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business, Ashton Kutcher, will.i.am, and Alpaca VC.
Track record: It’s early days for the fund. Some investee companies include: Dallas-based Pressed Roots, a blow-out bar for women with textured hair; LA-based EngineEars, a platform for audio engineers, artists and producers; and LA-based ComplYant, a tax company for small businesses.
Quote: The co-founders believe that the Black community, and other communities of color, are turning out entrepreneurs that, with training and access to capital, can establish fast-growing, category-leading companies.
“We are deep believers in Entrepreneurship transforming families, communities and the way society operates to create a better, more inclusive future,” they told me by email.
This story and others on Times of E are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.