Are you a WOC entrepreneur working in the care economy? VEST Her Ventures wants to finance you

0

Erika Lucas quit her six-figure salary after a decade in the venture capital industry to start a brand new business with her husband. What may seem like an incomprehensible decision to some turned out to be the best decision she could have made.

Six years after starting StitchCrew with her husband Chris, Lucas is committing $20 million to provide capital to women of color starting businesses, particularly in the future of work and care economy sectors, thanks to a new initiative called VEST Her Ventures.

Developed as an offshoot of VEST, another venture capital firm that Lucas founded in 2020, VEST Her Ventures seeks to support women of color, especially in “overflown” states like those in the central and southwestern , providing capital that would have been nearly impossible to secure.

Lucas hosted a Ted Talk in 2019, about a year before VEST launched, to talk about why she felt compelled to help women of color start their own businesses. Lucas explained that she came from a family of entrepreneurs who started small businesses in Mexico to support their children. She cites her single mother, who ran a flower shop from home while raising a family, as a major inspiration for the work she does now.

Now that Roe v. Wade was overruled, Lucas believes it’s more important than ever to connect women to capital, especially in red states, to balance power dynamics and give women control of their lives and futures.

“Decisions continue to be made for us, rather than by us,” she said. “That will only change when women are in positions of power in the private sector so that we can find solutions to develop the future of work and fix our care infrastructure.”

According to a 2021 report from Pitchbook, only 2% of all venture capital funds released that year went to women-owned businesses. For women of color, the numbers paint a much grimmer picture. Over the past decade of venture capital funding, 0.32% of funds have gone to Latina-owned businesses and 0.0006% to Black women-owned businesses.

Basically, if you’re a black woman looking for capital, your odds are as good as being one of the 21 people who die skydiving each year… out of a total of 3.5 million skydivers. If you’re Latina, the odds are always less than half a percent. The odds are high against women of color who want to own a business.

Lucas knows how much of a problem that is, especially as market demands change. “If we want to see change and we want to see it faster, we need to fund women, especially solution-focused entrepreneurs to redefine how we achieve economic mobility and influence in markets, fair policies and capital flows,” she said.

As one of the few funds to be led by a predominantly Latinx team, VEST Her Ventures will far exceed the national average, where Latinos make up just 2% of venture capital investment professionals and 2% of venture capital investment professionals at partner level.

VEST Her Ventures seeks to change the way women do business, giving them the tools and access that were once reserved for those with generational wealth and ivy league connections.

Do you notice any necessary corrections? Please email us at [email protected]

Share.

Comments are closed.