March 5, 2021
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Meet 28 Black Kauffman Fellows Who Are Funding the Future

In honor of Black History Month, Kauffman Fellows highlighted 28 Black Fellows, their ventures, and the profound impact they’re making to build and fund the future.We recognize the particular obstacles they have overcome to become leaders in venture capital, and are incredibly grateful for their voices, their work, and the immense value they bring to the Kauffman Fellows network.

1) On Day 1 we celebrated Austin Clements (KF Class 25) and the launch of Slauson & Co., a VC firm driven by intentional inclusion. 

Austin shared, "We're here to compete at the highest level and demonstrate that investing in underrepresented founders provides a competitive advantage."➡️ We highlighted @MichaelLints (KF Class 23), who is creating Our Broken Chains, a documentary exploring the modern-day challenges of racial injustice.Michael shared, “As a VC, I am trying everything I can to address racial or social injustice.” We were lucky to spotlight Dia Martin (KF Class 23).Dia shared, “One of my favorite quotes is ‘A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity.’ I truly believe in the power of community and collaboration.” We spotlighted Terri Burns (KF Class 24). Terri is not only the youngest partner in GV’s history, she's also one of the youngest VC partners in SV!Learn more about her investment thesis: We celebrated Chris Lyons (KF Class 19).Chris shared, "We want to figure out how we can enable more African Americans to get not one foot in the door, but two feet in, and really be a part of the growing change that I was fortunate enough to get into." We honored the work of Jackson Cummings (KF Class 25), co-founder of the Black Venture Institute, VC at Salesforce Ventures, and board BLCK VC.Jackson shared, "Like Rev. Jesse Jackson said - 'At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope and not backward by fear and division.' We must see this through." We were proud to highlight Wayne Moore (KF Class 25) on Day 7 of #BlackHistoryMonth!A summary of Wayne's priorities as a VC: "Working hard to broaden access to venture for diverse founders and investors. Ensuring the future of technology is inclusive." We were proud to feature Mike Asem (KF Class 24), whose blog was read by thousands in 2020 and raised thousands for social justice charities. As a VC who has made over 100 investments, Mike believes "Founders need stewards, not masters."➡️ We spotlighted Marlon Nichols (KF Class 18 and BOD), Managing Partner at Mac Venture Capital. Marlon believes, "We must invest in Black and Brown founders. In our increasingly diverse world, they are best positioned to address billion $ opportunities.”➡️ We featured SidMofya (#KF19), COO of @DraperNetwork.⬇️ Read more about Sid's work building an international alliance of venture capital funds and a platform for their collective portfolio of over 900 companies We honored Allan Jean-Baptiste (KF Class 23) of KKR & Co. Growth, featured by Digital Insurance for leading one of 2020's top insurtech deals, Policy Genius.Allan shared, "I get excited by companies that are not only great businesses, but create new markets, impact society, and democratize access.” We highlighted Kevin Lockett (KF Class 21, Mentor KF Class 25).Kevin shared, “I am honored to have the opportunity to be a Partner in the VC space, but there are many more people that look like me that deserve the same opportunity.” We honored Nnena P. Nkongho (KF Class 23). Nnena is the Founder and Managing Partner at Otundi Ventures, a VC firm investing in entrepreneurial teams with tech-focused businesses that accelerate growth and impact in Africa. We featured Maia Sharpley (KF Class 24), Ed-Tech investor & co-founder of Juvo Ventures.Maia believes, “the purpose of education is to educate each one of us to think critically & to think intensively. Character plus intelligence – that’s the objective of true education.” We spotlighted Neb Mela (KF Class 24).Honoring those who paved the way, Neb shares this quote from Thurgood Marshall, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - bent down & helped us pick up our boots.” We were lucky to spotlight Temi M. Awogboro (KF Class 23), Executive Director at EverCareNG, Co-Founder at Kairos Angels, and Partner at Magic Fund.Temi shared, "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” - H Tubman We were proud to feature Brian Dixon (KF Class 21) of Kapor Capital who penned this important piece on funding Black founders ➡️ shared, "The Black founders of today will become the Black investors of tomorrow. I am living proof of this." We spotlighted Elliott Robinson (KF Class 22) of Bessemer Venture Partners.Elliott shared, "Tech entrepreneurs like my father have always made Black history while doing more w/ less. Equitable access to capital for funders & founders of color will redefine how Black history is written in the future." We spotlighted Lisa Skeete Tatum (KF Class 4), Founder & CEO Landit."We partner with organizations to successfully move their DEI goals into action with access and accountability to make the workplace work for everyone."Read more from Lisa here ➡️ KF Charter Class Member Thomas Darden is executing a 'Cradle to Career' strategy that positions children in disadvantaged neighborhoods to "realize the happy and secure futures they deserve".Thomas shared, "I’ve always believed that the future is something that you make by the day." We honored Jessica Patton (KF Class 25), Co-Founder of recently launched 5th Century Partners.Jessica shared, "I wake up excited every day to help black owned, led & focused businesses realize their full potential... In the words of many, I am my ancestors' wildest dreams." We honored Ik Kanu (KF Class 23)!Ik shared, "Innovation is driven by inspiration & derived from diverse cultural experiences. Celebrating #BHM is a celebration of innovation excellence. Congratulations to my friends Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins of Promise and Shola Akinlade of Paystack!" We featured Michael K Madison II (KF Class 12), Founding Partner of Pangea Force which unites nations through venture capital & innovation.A firm believer that "genius doesn't decay w/ every mile beyond SV", Michael nurtures diverse entrepreneurs globally through cross-border collaboration. We honored the work of Alex Washington (KF Class 6)!A Morehouse Man and Harvard Business School grad, Alex is also very involved with Chicago orgs. He serves as a director of Wintrust, board member Chicago Council, life trustee Chicago Foundation for Education, board member of Chicago Urban League& much more. We spotlighted Israel Rollins (KF Class 15), Founder of Rocket Propulsion Labs.Israel shared, "As an AA fund manager and a proud 2x HBCU grad, I am fully committed to make every attempt to finance Black and other underrepresented founders, including, but not limited to LatinX, Women, LGBTQ+." We were honored to spotlight the work of Wale Ayeni (#KF18), Acting Global Head Venture Capital at IFC and World Bank.With over a decade of global technology experience, Wale says he is committed to "investing wherever the talent is". We highlighted Kirby Harris (KF Class 21), Co-Founder and Managing Partner Base Ventures and Board at Space Perspectives. "One of the more satisfying developments since the founding of Base Ventures has been the recent emergence of minority-run firms & capital flows to non-traditional investors & founders." And, last but not least, we highlighted Brentt Baltimore (KF Class 25) who reminded us that success starts with opportunity, “I look at my success & I see the people, events, & opportunities that brought me here.I was determined & ambitious, but would I have been able to prove my mettle if I didn't have the opportunity?” - Suzanne Shank join us in celebrating these Fellows today and every day.We feel privileged to be a part of these Fellows’ journey, and welcome you to join us in celebrating their accomplishments throughout the rest of the year!