US: Launch of $2 million venture capital fund to boost LGBT entrepreneurs

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A Boston-based crowd-funding firm is raising $2 million to drive early-stage investment in companies led by LGBT entrepreneurs.

The fund, VentureOut, aims to “help create the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs”. It is seeking to raise $2 million from 15 to 20 investors, to make very early investments in around a dozen LGBT-led start-ups.

It is run by Launch Angels, which manages micro venture capital funds. Launch Angels has said it will be providing high levels of guidance for recipients of the funds, and will connect LGBT entrepreneurs with resources and mentors in order to “leverage the power of the LGBT community”.

Greg Wiles, Managing Director of the VentureOut Fund, said in a press release: “We’re hoping this will be a win for entrepreneurs, the LGBT community and fund members alike.

“LBGT entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly common, and every year we see many promising new scalable businesses started by LGBT founders. With this growing opportunity, I envision an abundance of promising deals for investors at the seed round and early stage.”

Shereen Shermak, CEO of Launch Angels, added: “We’re applying a disruptive model to the venture funding field. We start with groups, we identify their passions and interests, and then we craft the backbone management engine to fuel their vision.

“Creating an LGBT Affinity Fund is a natural evolution of this model, and we’re excited to help empower the next generation of LGBT entrepreneurs.”

The press release continues: “A portion of the fund proceeds will be donated to a non-profit supporting LGBT businesspeople.”

Although the fund is expected to draw gay and lesbian investors in particular, it is not exclusively aimed at them. Investments will only be given to companies with openly LGBT founders or senior managers.