Shila Nieves Burney and Brad Feld talk about Zane Access Pre-Capital Program for black founders.
About Shila Nieves Burney: Shila Nieves Burney has spent a 20+ year professional career working closely with leading organizations and exceptional talents to create solutions that address disparities through investment in human capital. Her super-power is connecting!
After spending a year sourcing investors for a startup that culminated in a $5M term sheet, mentoring and advising founders of color, Shila was able to see first hand challenges diverse entrepreneurs face getting access to capital and the resources they needed to grow and scale their companies.
She founded ZANE Venture Fund, a seed fund that would invest in underrepresented founders with the goal of closing the funding gap and generating high returns for investors, and Zane Access which provides early-stage companies led by diverse teams access to cross-functional experts, resources, best practices and customized content critical to accelerating growth. Zane Access recently launched the Pre-Capital program, a program designed to support underrepresented founders in becoming capital ready. Shila studied Business Admiration at Florida A&M University. She has spent her life advocating on behalf of disparate and marginalized communities.
Details about Shila's bio can be found here: https://zane.vc/
About Brad Feld: Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius VC and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars. Brad is a writer and speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship. He’s written a number of books as part of the Startup Revolution series and writes the blogs Feld Thoughts and Venture Deals.
Brad holds BS and MS degrees in Management Science from the MIT. Brad is also an art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 25 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.
Details about Brad's bio can be found here- https://www.foundrygroup.com/team/brad-feld/
She-VC Questions for Shila:
“Diversity is a competitive advantage” - Shila. Private investing world is built by people who want to hire and invest in people who look like them and think like them. Tell us more about why you think diversity is a competitive advantage?
Tell us why you decided to create a platform for entrepreneurs from the South eastern part of US to have a platform like Zane Access Pre-Capital Program?
Tell us more about the program.
You said this “program is to make entrepreneurs capital ready not just venture ready”. What will these cohorts learn in the program? How did you select the first cohort in this program, considering Beyonce has highlighted one of the startups?
Did you create any risk profile adjustment in selecting the first cohort considering the uncertainties and volatility in the market?
Your daughter Zane after whom the fund has been named was an innocent victim in gun violence and she survived such horrific incidents. What inspiration you drew upon such a life threatening incident to further your capital deployment mission at such a grass root level to build generational wealth for underrepresented minority entrepreneurs.
We are living in “Economic Civil Rights Movement” - Do you see there are new market opportunities for emerging black fund managers? Considering black female fund managers are still struggling to close their fund.
Future of the Zane Pre-Capital Access Program?
She- Questions for Brad:
What prompted you to be part of the Zane Pre-Capital Access Program?
Do you see further movement in the emerging fund manager space as more micro and pre seed funds are becoming institutional asset classes? Can you elaborate about the new market opportunities for emerging fund managers? And how has the market changed in the last few years?
Why do you think it is more difficult for black female fund managers to close a fund? What kind of shift in mental model and investment thesis is required to close this wealth gap in capital deployment ?
During an unprecedented uncertainty like this private companies tend to have a far less short-term volatility compared to publicly traded companies, which are subjected to rapid price changes from the market forces that may not reflect their underlying company fundamentals. As more companies tend to stay private, do you see the exit environment will look quite different than what it was in the last few years?
We know that by recycling GPs are extending the capital pool to deploy. What is your thought on recycling the management fees especially now when liquidity is a big issue for many non-institutional LPs?
You talked about your philanthropy focusing on entrepreneurs and education and the intersection of these things. Way back in 2016 in Denver post You and Amy, and you said “We decided we’re going to give away all our money while we are alive.” You talked about how Techstars Foundation focuses on improving diversity among entrepreneurs. What is the legacy of Brad Feld as an investor, philanthropist and catalyst of change?