'This is Critical': Two LA Funds Focusing on Diversity Get an Infusion from PayPal

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

'This is Critical': Two LA Funds Focusing on Diversity Get an Infusion from PayPal

PayPal Holdings, Inc. announced Thursday it will be transferring money to two L.A. firms as part of a $50 million commitment to eight early-stage, Black and Latinx-led venture capital funds.

Slauson & Co., the new fund from PledgeLA chairman Austin Clements focused on people of color, women and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs; and VamosVentures, the Latinx consumer-focused, early-stage fund founded by Marcos Gonzalez, are both receiving undisclosed investment amounts.


"For a small fund, this is critical," Gonzalez told dot.LA. "Welcoming PayPal into the VamosVentures family will provide insight and resources in a variety of ways. For example, deal referrals, input on diligence of companies we're looking at in the fintech space, and possible business development support for our portfolio. More broadly, we expect to benefit from more general insight on trends and connections to folks in the ecosystem that we might not otherwise be able to access."

Gonzalez said he thinks it is significant that Los Angeles is the only city where PayPal chose to invest in more than one fund.

"I think it shows that L.A. can be an epicenter for early-stage activity around diverse managers, founders and consumers," Gonzalez said. "More specifically, L.A. is a Latino city and we're working to increase the Latinx communities participation in the tech and VC ecosystem."

Just 2% of VC investment partners in L.A. identify as African American or Latino, according to PledgeLA. Nationally, a 2018 Deloitte study found 80% of investment partners at U.S. venture firms were white; 3% were Black and 3% were Latino. Just 4% of VC employees are black, according to a 2018 survey by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), an industry trade group.

Because of the insular nature of how startups get funded – with a big emphasis on existing networks and warm introductions - the lack of diversity has major trickle down effects on which founders get capital.

In an effort to help solve the whiteness problem, VC's like Clements have gone out on their own to start new funds, but raising a first time fund is never easy and has been a "herculean task" this year, according to the NVCA. That's why the PayPal investment comes as welcome news.

"Through our investments, we hope to be a catalyst for positive change for people who face historic disparities in access to capital and opportunity," Clements said in a prepared statement.

While PayPal will be what Clements calls the "inaugural investor" in Slauson & Co., VamosVentures is further along, having already raised $25 million with two months left of fundraising to go, according to Gonzalez.

PayPal said it would also invest in Chingona Ventures, Fearless Fund, Harlem Capital, Precursor Ventures, Zeal Capital Partners, and one additional fund as part of the company's commitment to invest $530 million to support Black-owned businesses, strengthen underrepresented minority communities and fight for racial equity and economic equality.

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Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled $10 million in new funding led by LRVHealth, adding to $3 million in seed funding raised by the startup last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

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