“We feel really strongly that talent is universal, but opportunities and capital have not been equally accessible across the VC ecosystem,” Jackson Cummings, head of fund, said, according to Forbes. “So, what we’re looking to do here is invest in who we think will be the next industry-defining companies and leaders.”
The venture kickstarted in 2021 after a nudge from Wellington’s co-head of private investments, Michael Carmen. He encouraged Cummings to shift his attention from Salesforce Ventures to lead the fund. This would help Wellington’s clients to support diverse founders.
Cummings is now joined by his partners Frederik Groce, Sasha McKenzie, and Van Jones, who all have ties to nonprofit BLCK VC. Their focus with the new fund will be on investing in early-stage funding rounds that might not receive attention otherwise.
“We tend to look to back those founders who have been overlooked and have that chip on their shoulder,” Cummings explained.
McKenzie told Forbes, “We are really excited to take advantage of a huge white space in the market. Any time an investor sees white space, they see opportunity.”
Of the $150 million commitment, Wellington partners invested $50 million of their capital into WAV. Contributions to the fund also came from insurance companies, healthcare providers, and foundations. The specific names of these contributors were not disclosed by the founders, the outlet notes, due to “lack of permission.”
“I always tell them that their roster of institutional LPs is stronger than the original roster of institutions in my fund when I started a decade ago,” Carmen detailed to Forbes.
Looking ahead, WAV plans to embolden early-stage startups with checks ranging from $1 million to $6 million in addition to granting them access to Wellington’s extensive network.