Financial services firm Synchrony has announced it will commit $15 million to venture capital funds led by Black, Latinx, and female investing partners.
The first funds selected to receive money include Chingona Ventures, Seae Ventures, and Zeal Capital Partners. Each fund supports early stage startups across the fintech, healthcare, and future of work sectors.
“For too long, Black, Latinx, and female founders have been underrepresented in venture capital funding,” said Trish Mosconi, EVP, Chief Strategy Officer and Corporate Development at Synchrony. “Together we must take collective action to help close the venture funding gap and provide equal access to capital for diverse entrepreneurs and underserved communities.”
According to Crunchbase, only three percent of investment funding is received by female founders, a statistic that has not changed in a decade. Since 2015, over $15 billion has been raised by Black and Latinx founders in the U.S., representing 2.4 percent of total U.S. venture capital raised during this time, per another Crunchbase study. Meanwhile, a Deloitte study shows 65% of investment firms reported having no female partners and 93% of firms reported having no Black partners in 2020.
Synchrony’s ventures team focuses on early-stage founders driving innovation in markets and sectors aligned with the company’s growth strategy, mission and values.
The initial three funds have investing strategies that align with Synchrony’s business priorities and commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion. Synchrony’s $15 million commitment will also include additional VC funds that will be selected later this year.
Zeal Capital Partners, headquartered in Washington, DC, was founded by Nasir Qadree who believes more diverse companies need more inclusive sources of funding. He even trademarked the term “Inclusive Investing” to convey that these companies are baking diversity into every investing decision they make.
“We fundamentally believe that while there is ample diverse talent with innovative solutions to social disparities, there is not ample opportunity to leverage that talent into scalable impact,” said Qadree, founder and managing partner of Zeal Capital Partners. “By investing in dynamic, often-overlooked founders, our vision is to support founders in solving some of society’s biggest challenges, like narrowing the skills gap and reducing wealth barriers for the marginalized. We look forward to working with Synchrony to help scale high-growth early-stage companies that will generate outsized returns while making an impact.”