When the Andreessen Horowitz firm launched in 2009, they put a focus on hiring black people and backing black entrepreneurs like Tristan Walker of Walker & Company Brands, Donnel Baird of BlocPower and Chris Bennett of Wonderschool. And although those bets paid off, their newest venture makes sure that diversity in tech is prioritized on a wider scale.
The newly created Cultural Leadership Fund has two basic goals: Connect the greatest cultural leaders in the world to the best new tech companies and enable more young African Americans to enter the tech industry.
In an announcement on the firm’s website, firm co-founder Ben Horowitz explained that while backing black founders and hiring black people within their own firm was a step in the right direction, it didn’t address diversity widely enough:
“Still, we felt that we were leaving opportunity on the table in two important dimensions. First, we had not systematically partnered with the established cultural leaders and second, we were not increasing the number of African Americans entering the technology business.”
Horowitz hopes this new fund will address both of these issues. The firm is partnering with influential people such as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shonda Rhimes, Will and Jada Smith, Quincy Jones, Kevin Durant, Chance the Rapper and Nas
All of the fees that are associated with the fund will be donated to non-profits that help black people trying to enter the tech world.
As technology becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives, diversity in the industry will be an issue that only becomes more vital. According to Forbes, 95% of the tech workforce is white. Tech’s diversity problem is not close to being fixed, but investments like the one made by Andreessen Horowitz are a step in the right direction.