BLCK VC has appointed Robert Gordon IV as its CEO.
The two-time founder and investor first became acquainted with the nonprofit after participating in the Black Venture Institute program. He brings a plethora of experience through his prior roles at organizations that include America’s Promise Alliance, Department of Defense, the DNC, Hustle, and Searchlight. Most recently, Gordon led partnerships at /dev/color and worked with companies such as Adobe, Google, and Netflix, among others, to advocate for Black software engineers and technical founders to collaborate.
“As a Black technology operator, founder, and investor, I deeply resonate with the trials and aspirations of our community,” Gordon told AFROTECH exclusively. “My personal journey intertwines with my professional one, making the mission of representation not just an objective but a deeply rooted quest. These experiences have not only prepared me but also motivated me to amplify our impact at BLCK VC, using the platform to create systemic change in the venture capital ecosystem.”
Vision For BLCK VC
All in all, Gordon’s career trajectory has laid the ground work for his new role at BLCK VC, where he will accelerate its mission to better the venture capital industry by “achieving economic equality, serving as a vehicle to build wealth, supporting the next generation, and strengthening communities,” its website mentions.
“We’re set on broadening the impact and quality of our programs and community events while fortifying and expanding our strategic partnerships and amplifying the success stories of our community that break the mold,” BLCK VC said in a board note provided to AFROTECH. “By doing so, we hope to continue to inspire a new generation of Black investors. Under Rob’s leadership, we believe BLCK VC will be able to not just continue the work the organization has done but accelerate the trajectory of positive impact BLCK VC can have by building bridges to enable enduring change in the venture capital industry. So, let’s raise a digital toast to welcome Rob and celebrate this next chapter in BLCK VC’s ever-evolving story. Here’s to new beginnings and unstoppable progress.”
Gordon explained, “I deeply believe that by driving systemic change in the VC industry, we will reduce the Black wealth gap, encourage increased entrepreneurship in the Black community, and stimulate economic growth and innovation. It’s BLCK VC’s role to lead the charge here and lift as we climb. I envision BLCK VC evolving into not just a hub for Black investors but a cornerstone institution in the global VC ecosystem. My goal is for us to provide unparalleled resources, mentorship, opportunities, and experiences, fostering a new generation of Black investors who are equipped to drive monumental shifts in industry dynamics and investment paradigms.”
Gordon also mentions that he seeks to increase representation of Black investors, decrease the funding gap in venture capital, empower the internal team to reenergize the work culture, and enhance their partnership ecosystem during his tenure.
“We have a ‘lift as we climb’ ethos, which is channeled through Bonds, Bridges, and Alliances,” Gordon said. “Through Bonds, we pay homage to the pioneers and path-setters who’ve made our mission possible. With Bridges, we’re connecting individuals, corporations, and policy-makers in a united front to drive change. And through Alliances, we’re extending our reach beyond the Black community, partnering with aligned allies who share our vision for a fundamentally equitable venture ecosystem.”
While Gordon emphasizes the organization’s mantra to lift as they climb, he also notes there is also a mountain ahead of them due to the current state of Black venture capital.
“Let’s look at the facts: Per our own State of Black Venture report – shameless plug – Black investors make up only 4% of the total number of venture capitalists in the United States,” Gordon detailed. “This number is even lower for Black women, who constitute just 1% of the U.S. venture community. Furthermore, only 3% of Black investors hold key decision-making roles within venture firms.”
Still, he believes Black VC is positioned to drive change.
“Our community and programs exist to increase these numbers,” Gordon explained. “We have quite a mountain to climb here but also see so much runway to double, triple, quadruple the share of the pie we can and should be occupying. The picture is not entirely bleak.”
He added, “The number of first-time Black fund managers is growing, but they face an uphill battle, raising funds that are 35% smaller than their targeted size. Mentorship is making a difference; over 70% of junior Black investors report having a Black mentor in the venture industry. These are promising signals, but they are not enough. Our community and programs – Breaking into Venture, Mentorship Network, Black Venture Institute, and Fund Forward are equipped to move the needle forward.”