Editor's note: This is the second in our series examining diversity in venture capital. Read the first and third stories in this series and sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates.

Entrepreneurs usually fall over each other for the chance to meet with people like Kobie Fuller, a partner at Upfront Ventures, one of Los Angeles' oldest and most prestigious venture firms, and a former investor at Accel, one of Silicon Valley's most well-known early-stage firms.

But Fuller, who is black, had become used to being overlooked at parties and mistaken for junior-level staff.

"I have been at network events where people don't know who I am, they assumed I was a random moron," he said. "They treat you like you are not in the room or you are some wait staff."

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Editor's note: This is the first in our series examining diversity in venture capital. Read the second and third stories here and sign up for our newsletter to get updates.

The nationwide protests in response to the killing of George Floyd led to a flurry of discussions and self-reflection in the overwhelming white male world of venture capital about what needs to change to make the industry more diverse. While many VCs were quick (or not so quick) to take to social media to say they support diversity or attend webinars on inclusivity, meaningful concrete action has been less common.

"The venture field has been probably the slowest to let minorities and women in," said Sue Toigo, co-founder of the Toigo Foundation, which helps underrepresented minorities get careers in finance. "It has the worst record of all asset classes."

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At a virtual town hall held Thursday by dot.LA and PledgeLA to identify actions leaders in the L.A. tech and startup community can take now to break down racial barriers to jobs and capital, and to democratize economic opportunity for the region -- there were ultimately a robust number of questions asked and interest expressed around the issue, though tangible actions remain to be seen.

Nearly 30 years after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, protesters across the U.S. gathered this time to march against systemic racism and violence faced by the black community after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Across social media, tech companies in L.A. and beyond have posted and tweeted their support for #blacklivesmatter, muted their feeds, and opened their pocketbooks, while music companies took part in a blackout. Companies have also donated to various diversity, equity and inclusion causes, but it remains an open question as to what impact those efforts will have.

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