The venture capital space is still struggling with its diversity problem, but this student-run equity fund is hoping to use its expansion plan to fix it.
University Growth Fund (UGF) — considered the largest student-run equity fund in the country — has partnered up with Ally Ventures to announce that it is expanding its offices to Atlanta in an effort to usher more Black and Brown students into the underrepresented field of venture capital.
According to a press release, the equity fund has established a company mission to provide “unique access to the highly-competitive and lucrative career track of venture capital through hands-on experience.”
Now stationed in Downtown Atlanta — which is home to 26,000 Black and brown college students — UGF hopes to use its close proximity to the city’s top colleges and universities with diverse student bodies to turn things around for the VC world.
“Only 2% of venture capital leaders are Black, making venture capital one of the least diverse fields in our country,” Peter Harris — founding partner of University Growth Fund — shared in a statement. “We want to change that. Our expansion to Atlanta will be a milestone moment in terms of creating a pipeline for talented Black and Brown students who have wanted to explore the field but just haven’t had the entry point.”
As a growing hub for tech, education and venture capital deals, Atlanta is the ideal location for UGF’s expansion efforts. With over 57 colleges and universities in the city — including four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — Atlanta offers UGF a rich pool of talented candidates that are eager to explore their career options.
The equity fund’s expansion is not just to diversify venture capital, but with help from Ally Ventures, they will also offer more opportunities for Black and students of color to tap into higher-paying jobs.
“The goal of our work with UGF is to open many more doors to high-earning opportunities for Black and Brown students,” Di Morais — president of consumer and commercial banking products at Ally Bank — said in a statement. “UGF has a strong track record of changing lives by providing students with the experience needed to join the world of high finance. Our team at Ally is excited to work beside them to offer that crucial experience to young talent in the Atlanta area.”
UGF’s mission is what connects it to Ally Ventures’ commitment to invest in Black futures, particularly in overlooked yet high-paying career fields like VC and private equity.
There are flaring racial disparities in these fields but UGF is optimistic that its new expansion will help mitigate these issues moving forward.
For more information about UGF, visit its website.