diversity in vc

On this week's episode of the L.A. Venture podcast meet Austin Clements, co-founder of Slauson & Co, a L.A.-based pre-seed and seed-stage venture firm focused on sustainable economic inclusion. The firm is backed by PayPal, Ashton Kutcher, will.i.am, True Capital Management and Alpaca VC. Previously, Clements was at TenOneTen Ventures. He was also the founding chair of Pledge L.A. and the managing director of Grid110 South L.A.

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MaC Venture Capital, one of the few majority Black-owned venture firms to focus on increasing the woefully slim number of non-white founders, closed its first $110 million fund.

The two-year-old firm came into being when Cross Culture Ventures, co-founded by Marlon Nichols and Troy Carter, merged with M Ventures. That united Nichols with former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty; former William Morris Agency talent agent Michael Palank and MACRO founder and CEO Charles D. King, who was the first Black partner at a major Hollywood talent agency.

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The 46-year-old poet-turned-financer Taj Eldridge is raising $250 million to support Black and brown entrepreneurs and investors.

The fund will be split in two buckets, $125 million will go toward direct investments in clean tech, healthcare tech, media and fintech, as well as follow-on investments for companies that its affiliated fund managers make investments in. The rest of the funds will support fund managers raising at least $5 million that are majority-owned by Black or Brown individuals with an environmental social governance focus.

"What we like to say is we like to see funds that impact how you work, how you live and how you thrive," Eldridge told Minnie Ingersoll on the LA Venture podcast.

Eldridge, senior director of investments for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, said the idea for the new fund began in 2019 before last summer's racial reckoning when he had a conversation with a "high net-worth individual" about reducing the racial wealth gap.

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