Those familiar with Laconia know that community, transparency, and accessibility are core to our day-to-day as we work on building a more supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and investors alike. Whether it’s literally opening our doors to any founders with questions or hosting educational events on the venture asset class, we prioritize closing the opportunity gap within the early stage ecosystem.
As an extension of these initiatives, we could not be more excited to announce a new content series focused on amplifying underrepresented Limited Partner voices.
Over the past two years, there has been a long overdue surge in attention toward diverse founders and investors. Organizations such as All Raise and diversity-focused investors, such as Female Founders Fund, Gaingels, Harlem Capital, and Backstage Capital, have shed light on both the institutional challenges plaguing the tech industry and the champions bringing us closer to an equitable future.
With studies on professional investors’ assessments of diverse fund managers and articles on diversity within asset allocators, we are just beginning to see Limited Partners - the people and institutions that invest in venture funds - take on a more central role in these conversations.
Despite strong foundational efforts to increase transparency in the LP ecosystem, there is little content focused on amplifying underrepresented perspectives on critical industry issues. Based on anecdotal conversations and wholly unscientific Twitter asks, even getting a basic understanding of LP demographic data presents a challenge.
Given the central role LPs play as capital allocators, advocates, and arbiters of change, it is critical that we include their voices in our conversations. We could go on for days about why representation is essential, but below are a few top-of-mind reasons:
Just as diversity within VC fund managers has downstream effects on founders’ funding, it has an analogous impact at the LP-to-GP level. If we want to see industry-wide progress, we have to include the top of the capital stack.
Access to information and widespread representation are essential to narrowing the racial and gender wealth gaps that persist today. Generally, women and underrepresented minorities are less active investors, and they certainly seem to be more passive participants, particularly in private markets. Our hope is that bringing leading investors to the forefront will reduce the caginess of the industry and decrease the barrier to entry for new investors.
In an industry premised on surfacing outliers, following the crowd remains far too common, and highlighting underrepresented perspectives has never been more essential in driving both progress and profits.
We are thrilled to publish our first six interviews with Kelly Hoey, Amith Nagarajan, Lo Toney, Holly Lynch, Diane Henry, and Carlos Miguel Gutierrez:
Their stories cover a multitude of backgrounds and roles, providing a strong foundation for this series. We will be continuing these conversations on an ongoing basis, hoping to spotlight diverse perspectives across all possible parameters.
If you are an active Limited Partner and you:
Consider yourself underrepresented within your peer group (with regard to traditional demographic parameters such as gender, race, sexual orientation, or secondary criteria such as educational background), or
Are executing on an “outside the box” LP approach, such as investing in underrepresented GPs, social impact companies, or other atypical strategies, or
Have never publicly spoken about your LP investment activity and would like to do so...
...please reach out to us! By highlighting the insights you’ve gained through your investing experience, the barriers you’ve overcome to get where you are, and the opportunity you’ve discovered in this asset class, we hope to take another step toward tangibly moving the needle on a more inclusive and thriving ecosystem.
Thank you to Beezer Clarkson, Samir Kaji, Semil Shah, Ted Seides (Capital Allocators podcast), Notation (Origins podcast), and the #OpenLP community for paving the road toward LP-focused content (please let me know who I’m missing!); to Dessy Levinson, Nitya Rajendran, and Doba Parushev for your thoughtful feedback and support; and to Nikita Singareddy, Ed Zimmerman, Kim Lew, Mike MacCombie, Shai Goldman, Elizabeth Yin, Kelsey Banos, Del Johnson, Hana Yang and Declare for the impact you’ve had on my thinking & the creation of spaces for these discussions.