June 02, 2020



Many of my Non-Black friends and colleagues have asked how I am doing, what I make of the recent events and what they can do to support as allies. Below is my candid and transparent attempt at answering those questions.

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” – Nelson Mandela

The protests and events that unfolded last weekend are the culmination of ~400 years (slavery in the US began in 1619 when it was a British colony) of the cruelty to, oppression of, discrimination against, and institutional racism targeted at Black people in America. The recent murder of Mr. George Floyd and the failure to arrest the responsible police officers, the hunting and execution of Mr. Ahmaud Abrey and the untimely arrests of the three white men responsible, and the attempted weaponization of Mr. Chris Cooper’s race by a White woman that was inconvenienced are the latest of thousands of crimes and micro aggressions against Black people in America and served as the tipping point. WE’RE TIRED AND WE FEEL VERY ALONE!

Black people in America are tired, tired of: 

“To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.” “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

We appreciate the text messages, calls, and social media posts of empathy. Thank you for voicing your support and using your platform to speak out about these injustices. BUT…words without action ring hollow and are meaningless. So, do not vote for racist politicians or laws because you believe they will benefit you economically (they won’t). Use your privilege to step in when you see injustice or an act of discrimination taking place. Vote locally for officials that have track records of supporting policies that promote fairness and racial equality. White parents should educate their children on topics of equality and their responsibility to ensure that Black children do not experience the same exhaustion that comes with being Black in America today.

Speaking more directly to the venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Earlier this year, I partnered with the Kauffman Fellows and the Kauffman Foundation on a research project to better understand diverse representation within startups and the performance of startups led by diverse founding teams versus those led by all White teams. The findings were staggering:

So, if you are truly opposed to racism and discrimination, something you can start to do immediately is stop making excuses for not investing in startups and funds led by Black men and women. Instead, make the investments, extend your networks, hire us in leadership/ decision making roles, and hold us to the same standards that you do for White led startups and venture funds.   

Written by Marlon Nichols

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read next

June 05, 2014 due diligence management VC

Eugene Hill and the 5 Ms: Executing the Due Diligence Plan


Don't wait for luck to happen, make your own