Funding for all-women founding teams is stagnant, capital invested in Black founders is falling, and increased awareness of these issues has moved past an era of prolonged think pieces; the next stage in the fight for venture equity is now at the policy level.
Concurrently, lawsuits against helping more marginalized founders raise capital are progressing through the courts while new legislation is passed to also help said underrepresented talent. The tension between legal efforts to stymie attempts to invest more in Black founders and women and efforts to legislate more support for those individuals is a struggle between two directions for the nation as it works to move forward from its racist and sexist past.
“Entrepreneurship is at a crossroads right now,” Imani Augustus, a director for entrepreneurial equity at the think tank Third Way, told me. “There is a move on the right to weaponize any assistance to disadvantaged communities as overly ‘woke,’ but this effort on the right fails to appreciate that we shouldn’t be taking away opportunity in the country — we should be expanding it.”
Legislation shapes the facts on the ground in this country, even when the ideas of the general public disagree. That’s also why, after years of callouts, protests and no change, some diverse fund managers told me this is the last option, that equity would not come just via a gesture of goodwill; it now must be ratified in the courts.