During the Saturday symposium, Moderator Kesha Cash of Jalia Ventures spoke candidly with venture capital leaders; namely Lauren Maillian Bias, GP at GenY Capital and William Crowder, Managing Director at DreamIt Ventures.
The candid session allowed attendees to get an understanding into VC’s in general, as well as a personal dive into the lives of Bias and Crowder; specifically how they deal with being one of the few African Americans in the tech investment industry.
Through an honest exchange, both Bias and Crowder expressed the mutual opinion that while it’s a good thing for African Americans to bond together in the tech industry, that we need to break out of our own pattern-matching. Explained by Crowder, ” I think we spend way too much time with our own people. That’s comfortable and that’s easy. If you keep going to the same network, you don’t find the people that can get you from point A to point B.” Bias added, “When you push yourself into other groups to network with, you will hopefully find people that will improve your work ethic and add more value to your life; outside of your comfort zone.”
Check out the clip below from the session–William Crowder speaking on the importance of “putting yourself out there” and finding new opportunities with unfamiliar groups:
You can read the full liveblog from the “Building a Black Tech Investment Eco-System” panel below!
From FOCUS100: Breaking The Pattern: Building a Black Tech Investment Eco-System
Investors often invest in “patterns,” i.e., companies with founders who are like them or that have similar characteristics to those that had previous success. This can be a barrier for those outside the “pattern,” especially black entrepreneurs, underscoring the need for a network with black tech investors. Three of the top black investors in the business discuss how to create a black tech-investment ecosystem and the importance of impact investment in our community.
Takeaway: The current investment opportunities in the black community.
Kesha Cash (Director of Investments, Jalia Ventures)
Lauren Maillian Bias (General Partner, GenY Capital)
William Crowder (Managing Director, DreamIt Ventures)
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