by Darlene Crane (Originally posted 9/19/13 on OaklandLocal)
There’s a belief among most investors and startup founders that the financial ecosystem is a meritocracy. Money tends to flow to the companies with the best ideas, talent, products, and/or services. Whether or not this is true the fact remains that vast majority of startup founders, and the investors that fund them, are white men.
As a local “hapa” woman from Hawaii, meaning Asian/Caucasian mixed race, I assumed the investment world was not an industry that I would ever be connected with. When I ran across the Bay Area Capital Connections Conference (BACC) series I was curious enough to attend. This conference series was launched in 2006 by a non-profit organization called the Alliance for Community Development of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Alliance for Community Development (ACD) created this annual conference to ensure that diverse entrepreneurs and venture fundable companies led by diverse entrepreneurs were visible to the investment community. The first conference, in 2006, took place in San Francisco presenting African American founders and their companies.
In 2007 I attended the second Bay Area Capital Connections Conference in San Jose, CA which focused on presenting Latino/Latina founders and their companies. This was the first business event I had seen that connected diverse entrepreneurs to private investment, the most powerful business growth engine in the world.
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