500 Startups is big on diversity, and it wants to see more diversity in the technology space. Today the venture firm launched a $25 million microfund dedicated to supporting Black and Latino entrepreneurs. This marks the first time the early-stage startup has created a fund focused on diversity rather than on a particular region.
The microfund will focus on founders in the U.S. and will be used to invest in around 100 companies. The goal is to provide the capital, network, and expertise Black and Latino founders need to grow their business. 500 Startups has tapped venture partner and Black Founders cofounder Monique Woodard to oversee the program.
“This is a two-sided investing strategy,” she wrote in a blog post. “On one side, you have Black and Latino founders who are undercapitalized, and there are great deals to be made. On the other side, you have a population that over-indexes in many areas of technology consumption, increased consumer purchasing power, and an increase in the U.S. Spanish-speaking population. This is making Black and Latino consumers a market that investors should be paying attention to.”
This isn’t the first time 500 Startups has gotten involved in the diversity space. Its accelerator program consistently focuses on bringing on board startups with leaders from diverse backgrounds, including companies led by women, from outside the U.S., and those started by people of color. Some of these companies include Walker & Co., All Day Media, and Mayvenn.
Other of the firm’s microfunds have focused on specific parts of the world, such as Southeast Asia, Mexico, Japan, and Turkey, and also on select verticals, like mobile startups and those based around Twilio.