2 min read

What it Means to Support Black Founders at 500

This means partnering with organizations and building programs and policies that actively work against existing norms and systems.

Clayton Bryan

Venture Partner at 500 Global

Published

10.11.20

At 500, we’ve always prided ourselves on our values of being bold, being the example, being humble, thriving, and being inclusive. Whether it was the types of founders who joined our accelerator, events like our Diversity & Inclusion Summit, or any of our other initiatives, we believe that much of our success comes from our shared value of inclusivity. In fact, 500’s Black-founded companies (having at least 1 Black founder) have a combined valuation of $1.15 billion and raised $481 million (based on 101 companies, 81 U.S. based) as of October 2020.1

We, like many others, are overcome with grief after the tragic murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Gardner, and the many countless lives that have been lost. Black Americans continue to be an undervalued segment of our society, and this year continued to echo an important fact that we must all face: it is not enough to be “inclusive”.

At 500, this means partnering with organizations that can be critical of our actions for the future and building programs and policies that actively work against existing norms and systems. We know we are not the experts, and so with every new initiative, we are actively researching, learning & unlearning, and working together with the community to create a VC culture that is actively providing opportunities for underrepresented founders and investors. 

Today is just a small part of that journey. We’ve been diligently working behind-the scenes, privately meeting internally on how to create substantial, systemic change in our organization. While we are excited to launch some of the incredible initiatives listed below, know that this is just the start of a long journey at 500 as we continue to learn more, iterate our policies, and push forward. 

Black Founders Hub

Similar to our 500 Female Forces Initiative, our black founders hub serves as a centralized location of information on our black founder initiatives, community partners, updated approach, and ways that we can increase black representation throughout the world of VC and startups. We hope to provide a singular place for resources for black founders across the early-stage startup community. 

Black Founders Content

On an ongoing basis, black founders will be able to get a curated list of resources, upcoming events, and content from around the VC and startup community sent directly to their inbox. We hope to provide founders with opportunities to network with fellow founders and VCs to expand their reach and opportunity. 

This post is intended solely for general informational or educational purposes only.  Please review 500 Startups’ Terms of Use, including the disclaimers set forth in Section 2 thereof, for additional important information. 

Based on internal estimates as at September 30, 2020 and has not been independently verified. 1

Clayton Bryan

Venture Partner at 500 Global

Clayton Bryan is an early stage venture investor and operator. Currently a Partner at 500 Global, Clayton has spent time at some of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley. He has built expansive online communities, scaled marketplace businesses, and facilitated million dollar deals. At Yahoo he worked on award winning products. Later, at Payvment, he helped a team pioneer a new set of tools that started the social commerce movement. With Diversity as a guiding principle, Clayton has spent the entirety of his career within venture capital focused on supporting underrepresented founders. In 2016, Clayton and four others launched a non-profit organization, Transparent Collective, tasked with coaching and connecting underrepresented founders with investors. Companies to have gone through Transparent Collective's program have raised tens of millions of dollars in early stage financings. Clayton has invested in over 30 companies, including Printify, Public Goods, Silk+Sonder, Blue Wire, Fintor, Neon Financial, Hamama, EcoCart, JusticeText, Pariti, and Kiira. He Received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Economy from The University of California, Berkeley and his Masters of Business Administration from The Stern School of Business at New York University.

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