Image Gallery: 500 Startups Unity + Inclusion Miami
500 recently hosted another hugely successful Unity + Inclusion Summit in Miami on Thursday, March 7th, where over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, and members of the tech community gathered to address the state of diversity and inclusion in tech. Our southeastern hub, 500 Miami, continues to lead the charge in developing an innovation-focused ecosystem designed to inspire and empower entrepreneurship, increase employment, and boost the local economy. The Unity + Inclusion Summit is just one more program that 500 was thrilled to bring to the bustling startup environment in South Florida.
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Industry Leaders Abound
Our latest Unity + Inclusion boasted an impressive array of thought leaders including Shu Nyatta, Partner at Softbank, Raul Moas of Knight Foundation, Brandon Andrews of Shark Tank and Gretel Perera of the always inspiring Latinas in Tech, who spoke on subjects ranging from the state of diversity to trends in tech and VC.
Over the course of the day, 30 renowned leaders and champions of diversity and inclusion took to the stage. Women comprised more than 60%, including Miami tech ecosystem innovators, founders, international VC funds, government officials, and NGOs. With speakers coming from Miami and Southern Florida; Latin America; and all across the U.S. to provide a broad spectrum of backgrounds and stories. No two speakers were alike, which brought a dynamism that only an event like this could achieve.
During a fireside chat featuring Shu Nyatta of SoftBank underscored that talent can be found across the world, even in once-surprising markets. “We found that if you scratch in the dirt anywhere, great entrepreneurs come up.” he said, adding that SoftBank announced the launch of the SoftBank Innovation Fund, a $5 billion technology fund focused exclusively on the fast-growing Latin American market, earlier that morning.
During the program, Stephanie Bamfo from the International Finance Corporation presented the recent findings on Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital and debuted a video presentation underscoring the importance of women in venture. This facilitated a discussion surrounding what investment opportunities funds miss out on when women are not equally represented as investors and recipients of capital. Noting that female entrepreneurs in emerging markets currently receive only about 7% of investment capital from private equity and venture capital funds.
Raul Moas, Miami Program Director for Knight Foundation, capped off the day with an overview of how 500 Startups support of diverse founders adds value to the investments Knight Foundation has made in local entrepreneurship. Since 2012, Knight has invested more than $30 million in nurturing the Miami entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting innovators, attracting investments and growing the city’s talent base. Earlier in the day, Knight Foundation and Microsoft announced a $240,000 grant that will provide opportunities for local individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to be trained in the coding skills necessary to break into tech roles.
The program wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors ZenDesk, SAP.iO, Samsung Next, Breezy HR, and Silicon Valley Bank. Throughout the event, they hosted office hours along with representatives from Miami Angels, and VISA, allowing for 30+ personal meetings with founders looking for guidance with seed funding, growth, and building diverse teams.
Attendees were also able to attend workshops on Building Meaning & Purpose Into Your Culture, hosted by Zendesk, and a PR workshop for Growth and Diversity for additional value.
For those looking to get connected with us at 500, our 500 Program AMA (Ask Me Anything) was an absolute hit, as Venture Partner Aaron Blumenthal and 500 alumni Rocco Savage (OptionAlpha) and Felix Rodriguez (BackOffice.co) chatted candidly about the Seed Accelerator Program, taking questions from a room of eager founders.
One reason 500 is poised to help raise awareness around diverse investing is because it’s in our DNA. At 500, 44.5% of our portfolio founders belong to racial minorities and 26% of our investments are led by at least one female founder. Additionally, 49% of our overall portfolio hails from outside the U.S. At 500 Startups we’ve been investing globally since 2010, but the world is a big place! After 2018, the number of countries invested in is now 74, bringing our involvement to almost 40% of the world.
500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. We are one of the most active seed stage venture capital firms in the world.
Since our inception in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups has invested in over 2,000 companies via our 4 global funds and 14 thematic funds dedicated to either specific geographic markets or verticals. Our 140+ team members are located in multiple locations worldwide, with 500 Startups global portfolio of investments spanning over 74 countries.
Notable portfolio companies include: Twilio (NYSE: TWLO), SendGrid (NASDAQ: SEND), Credit Karma, Grab, Carousell, Udemy, Kudo (acquired by Grab), Talkdesk, Makerbot (acquired by SSYS), Wildfire (acquired by GOOG), and Viki (acquired by Rakuten).
Beyond providing seed capital, 500 further supports startups via its Seed Programs in San Francisco and Mexico City and the Series A Program in multiple locations globally. 500 Startups is also aiming to contribute to the development of thriving innovation ecosystems around the world to better equip startups with tools to succeed by running educational programs, events and conferences, and partnerships with corporations and governments around the world.