Meet Mercedes Bent, the Partner Who's Becoming Black Founders' Listening Ear in Silicon Valley
Photo Credit: Instagram / @mercebent

Meet Mercedes Bent, the Partner Who's Becoming Black Founders' Listening Ear in Silicon Valley

As a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners — a multi-stage venture firm with offices around the world including places like Southeast Asia and right in Silicon Valley — Mercedes Bent understands the values that she brings to the tables of the founders she works with.

During her chat with Black Tech Green Money’s Will Lucas, Bent speaks about engagement between VCs and startup operations, her approach beyond just focusing on bottom-line returns when it comes to her investments, and recommendations for how founders should select their potential investors.

Bent is extremely passionate about the Fintech, Edtech, and Consumer spaces within the industry and notes that “if we want to see equality and economic prosperity, a lot of that has to come from financial inclusion.”

As a past operator, Bent understands the empathy needed to connect with a founder on a proper level and the mindset that they have when working tirelessly to keep things afloat.

“I always ask my founders what their preferred cadence in communication is,” shares Bent. “I try to give them the option to set their own frequency on how often we communicate.”

That same empathy is what drives her to allow her founders to set the tone on their engagement, something she says isn’t common among VCs.

Beyond just focusing on bottom-line returns, Bent also believes in the human connection that she thinks should come along with being a VC.

“I get a ton of outreach and if I know that it’s someone from our community I’m going to make it a priority to respond,” Bent said.

The access for minorities in places like Silicon Valley is limited. Bent knows that oftentimes people just want to be heard and because of this, she does her due diligence of being that listening ear as often as she can.

“There’s a language of Silicon Valley and a kind of cultural norm,” Bent said. “I try to connect on this and demystify what comes with what VCs often say without any further context for those who may not always understand it.”

For more on capital and Impact from Mercedes Bent, listen to the full Black Tech Green Money episode here: