A new effort aims to address the underrepresentation of diversity in the venture capital sector.

According to a press release sent to AFROTECH, pre-seed accelerator Nex Cubed will tag team with nonprofit organization HBCUvc to establish a Venture Scouting program.

This will permit HBCU students and alumni to operate as
Nex Cubed venture scouts. They will receive assistance on how to vet promising startups, create investment memos, and receive fund carry for startups that secure an investment from Nex Cubed.

“Participating in the HBCUvc and Nex Cubed scouting initiative allows our program alum to tap into their network and source great HBCU founders, while further refining the skills they gained during their VC internships,” Chelsea Roberts, chief operating officer of HBCUvc told AFROTECH. “The exciting part about this all is that if Nex Cubed chooses a deal that one of the scouts finds, the scout gets carry, which allows them to act as a true venture capitalist.”

HBCUvc alum Alexis Dulan said in a statement:

“The scouting initiative between HBCUvc and Nex Cubed is extremely powerful because it is creating an ecosystem within HBCUs to essentially say, not only can we produce venture capitalists but we also have founders at HBCUs who are building companies that are changing the way that we see the world. A huge benefit of the initiative is the opportunity to create a pipeline of HBCU investors and founders that deeply understand one another based on their shared collegiate community.”

At the time of this writing, HBCUvc has helped Black and brown professionals obtain 152 paid venture capital internships and has aided alumni in their progression to leadership positions within venture funds and organizations providing support to entrepreneurs.

Working to strengthen their efforts, applications for their 2024 Fellowship in Venture Scouting will open Dec. 1, 2023.

“When we started HBCUvc seven years ago, there were no paid venture capital internship programs or robust training programs for diverse talent,” Roberts expressed. “Today, we have completely shifted the culture of how VC firms find talent from HBCUs while running the largest-paid VC internship program in the country. What distinguishes our work is that we help VCs understand the need to diversify their recruitment strategies and tap into other networks to find talent.”

Initiatives such as this are catalysts for bringing about change, which is necessary in the current state of venture capital. According to Barron’s, only 1% of the $216 billion in VC funding in 2022 was directed to Black founders. The imbalance carries over into venture capital representation as well, where just 4% of investors in the United States are Black, per Forbes.

Partnerships that mirror the work being undertaken by HBCUvc and Nex Cubed is what will help to create a ripple of change, and these organizations anticipate it will start at HBCUs.

“The reason that HBCUvc was founded is because we know that the history and the legacy of innovation in Black communities in this country started at HBCUs,” Roberts explained. “Given the launch of Nex Cubed’s HBCU Founders Fund and our ongoing work with HBCU talent in VC, both organizations came together to think about ways that we could collaborate on closing the access to capital gap faced by Black founders.”

She added, “The scouting initiative serves as a unique opportunity for HBCUvc alum to work with Nex Cubed as a fellow ecosystem leader who is passionate about supporting startups that spin out of HBCUs.”