This fund manager is on a mission to get Black founders the capital they deserve! And in less than a year after she started, she’s succeeded in that mission by raising $13.5 million for her Milwaukee-based venture fund.
When venture capitalist (VC) Dana Guthrie first sought out a career in the technology industry, she had no idea that it would lead her to help others in a massive way. As a basketball recruit in 2006, she enrolled in Milwaukee’s School of Engineering and from there jumped headfirst into the technology field majoring in computer engineering.
Today, she’s using her platform to help connect Black founders with the financial resources that they need to not only survive but thrive.
According to Yahoo! Finance, Guthrie created Alchemy Angel Investors after she crossed paths with like-minded individuals while working at Johnson Controls, a building equipment company. It was there that she also met Black professionals with a background in finance, but no real knowledge of investing in startups. Her company bridged the gap between the two, however, she felt the urge to do more.
“It worked out really well, but I saw that we had potential to do more,” said Guthrie in an interview with Business Insider. “We wanted to write larger check sizes to actually help the entrepreneur have enough runway to hit major milestones.”
Today she’s able to make that dream come true thanks to a program launched by Northwestern Mutual. Once the company became aware of the efforts Guthrie was making to promote financial inclusion, they realized that a partnership was vital to align their principles.
The insurance giant announced a $100 million impact investing fund with Gateway Capital, led by Guthrie, as one of the recipients.
“Dana is a known leader,” said Ray Manista, Chief legal and compliance officer at Northwestern Mutual. “She knows the local landscape.”
While Gateway hasn’t begun to invest in any companies, the fund does have plans to begin investing in pre-revenue startups that it supports at an average of $400,000.