blck vc

blck vc

Photo by Samson Amore

If you know where to look, Los Angeles and its surrounding cities are full of little gems explaining the area’s history. While stopped in traffic in Santa Monica today, one plaque caught my eye – it proclaimed that African-Americans are one of the oldest cultural groups to call the beach cities home, dating back to the late 1800s, and are responsible for building much of the infrastructure we use today.

Looking at the makeup of the business communities in Santa Monica and neighboring Venice, that historical context is far from evident.

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Image by Candice Navi

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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Venture capital has fueled billions of dollars in wealth but it has largely excluded black Americans. Only 1% of venture-funded startup founders are black and more than 80% of venture firms don't have a single black investor.

Blck VC, a group of young black investors and entrepreneurs are calling on the venture capitalist community to diversify their ranks and support the black community. Declaring Thursday, June 4th, a day of action, the group launched a campaign called "We Won't Wait."

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