Trailblazing women of color like Ebony Pope and the rest of the ladies on our list are making consequential moves and facilitating sizable transactions in the world of Venture Capital.
Despite being a mostly male-dominated field, the Venture Capital arena and the institutional investing space as a whole has seen some progress over the last ten years. Progress in terms of more women entering and leading Global Venture Capital firms large and small.
Others have opted to launch their own boutique VC houses. A growing community within a community of women of color are taking the world of Investing by storm.
We have compiled a list of top five women of color making moves in the Venture Capital world.
1. Gayle Jennings O'Byrne
O'Byrne is a co-founder and general partner at Maya Ventures Partners, an early-stage VC firm that focuses on investing in black and Latina women founding tech startups. The goal of MVP is to create a diversity venture ecosystem that finds and creates value in untapped markets, as well as to increase investments and the number of people investing in women of color.
2. Kesha Cash
Cash is the Founder of Impact America Fund and co-founded Jalia Ventures with the notion of identifying market opportunities often overlooked by traditional investors, including the backing of entrepreneurs of color.
Prior to founding Jalia Ventures, Cash was a summer associate at Bridges Ventures, a fund manager that focuses on investment opportunities that can generate investor returns while also meeting a social or environmental challenge.
3. Kathryn Finney
Finney is the founder of digitalundivided, an organization that develops programs to increase the active participation of urban communities, especially women, in the digital space. The social enterprise was founded in 2013 and operates a variety of programs, such as its BIG innovation center and the BIG incubator, which assist black and Latina founders in building sustainable businesses via mentorship and access to investors. Finney is also a co-founder and general partner at Maya Venture Partners.
4. Ebony Pope
As the Director of US Ventures at Village Capital, Ebony Pope works to support ventures participating in the firm’s programs. She also ensures that there is diversity in Village Capital’s pipeline with regard to ethnicity, gender, and region founders come from.
“I really enjoy just working with entrepreneurs and knowing that I’m helping them to be sustainable and grow to a level that allows them to validate value prop and mission,” said Pope in an interview with The Muse.
Pope has experience working in tech and working with entrepreneurs abroad. Pope graduated with her MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in 2015, focusing on strategy and entrepreneurship. As a graduate student, she served as the Education Circle Director for the Social Venture Fund at the university. Prior to Ross, Pope was an Account Strategist for Online Sales at Google.
5. Monique Woodard
Monique Woodard is the co-founder and executive director of Black Founders, a program with the mission of increasing the number of black entrepreneurs in tech. The organization was founded in 2011 and builds programming to empower black entrepreneurs to promote economic growth in the community.
The founder—and former investor at 500 Startups—has more than 10 years of consumers tech experience and created a mobile app called Speak Chic, which teaches you how to pronounce fashion labels. Woodard was also one of the first Innovation Fellows at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and regularly speaks on topics relating to entrepreneurship, diversity, and inclusion.
“Entrepreneurship is about solving big problems, but too often, the venture community is only funding problems that half of the world deems important,” Woodard wrote on her site.
Sources: Afrotech, Pitchbook