Six years ago, The journey of launching DivInc started with a question. Why?
Why were BIPOC and women founders so underrepresented in the tech ecosystem? Why were BIPOC and women founders so underfunded by venture capital? Why when I look across the table at my fellow angel investors do I not see faces like mine? Why was the tech ecosystem failing this huge group of talent?
After 20 years at Dell and a mountain of wisdom gleaned from my tenure, I was facing a perplexing problem for which I didn’t have a solution. But, I knew the answer was out there. And, with my DivInc co-founders beside me, we set out on our path of discovery.
What we found were a few of the usual suspects including pattern matching within the investment world, lack of diversity within the venture capitalist and angel investor community, and legacy systems that have prevented access to ecosystem networks, physical spaces, and education.
But we also uncovered a few hidden hurdles including the “tech startup language barrier” for those outside of the ecosystem thus making it more difficult to navigate the journey at the early stages. Likewise, mental health/burnout are disproportionately more prevalent for people of color and women Founders in the US due to additional ecosystem barriers and life stressors. On top of it all, we have to come to understand that many leaders within the ecosystem still don’t realize that inequities in entrepreneurship are one of the major contributors to the racial wealth gap.
According to McKinsey, if BIPOC founders could achieve parity in entrepreneurship, an estimated 1.2M million in new businesses with the potential to create over 9 million jobs and generate more than trillion in revenue. If only we would unleash the brilliance of diverse founders and unlock the financial gains waiting in the wings.
The barriers that founders of color and women face are real. DivInc was founded specifically to remove the barriers they face to create social and economic equity. And, we have made real strides toward that goal.
In 2021-2022, DivInc helped 22 BIPOC and women-founded pre-seed companies identify their initial solution market fit to generate $2.6 million in revenue within 12 months of completing our accelerator. To date, we’ve served almost 100 companies via our accelerator programs in Austin and Houston. We had several companies go on to top-rated later-stage startup programs and many others have successfully secured financial capital. For every $150,000 pre-seed stage program we execute we estimate that our portfolio companies generate $30 million in business valuations within 12 months of participating program.
At the end of the day, we know, unequivocally, that entrepreneurship is an essential component to driving a strong economy and building generational wealth. We must do more to build a robust equitable ecosystem where BIPOC and women founders can thrive, especially in the early stages.
Let’s bulletproof our local economies for tomorrow by investing together today.
We are going deeper with our portfolio companies by revamping our post-accelerator program to provide DivInc founders with point-in-time resources, partnerships, investors, and ongoing education.
Reduce our accelerator program cost model while doubling the number of cohort participants per accelerator per year. Our target is 40-50 companies per year.
Establish earned revenue models to diversify our revenue streams and contribute to DivInc’s long-term sustainability.
Drive awesome customer experiences at all DivInc touchpoints.
In addition to these four initiatives, we are also launching our strategic partnership with Equity Ventures Fund to provide pre-seed investments into DivInc portfolio companies and other BIPOC and women founded companies across the country.
To do this on a transformative scale, it’s imperative that we take our collaborations up a notch. We invite and encourage our key community stakeholders including corporations, city and state economic development organizations, foundations, and startup ecosystem leaders across the US to invest time and money in support of DivInc programs.
When we do this right, we strongly believe that diverse founders in the US have the potential to generate over $200 billion in generational wealth by 2030.
DivInc Co-Founder & CEO