The New Fund Shaking Up the ‘Clubby World of Venture Capital’
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon face the U.K.’s election results, Ivanka Trump holds a summit on paid leave, and a new fund debuts with women making up 90% of its limited partners. Have a wonderful weekend.
- Operator, operator. A fund whose limited partners are 90% women, 40% people of color, and 77% new to tech investment. Those are the eye-popping stats behind the Operator Collective, a new fund launched Wednesday at Fortune’s MPW Next Gen Summit by Mallun Yen, its founder and general partner, and Leyla Seka, the former Salesforce exec who’s now an LP and investing partner.
The fund's name reflects the background of many of its LPs; they’re some of Silicon Valley’s top “operators.” The COOs of startups Waymo, Stripe, and Cloudflare, the CTOs of Lime and Gap, and the CMO of Zoom are among the group.
Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram has the full scoop on Operator Collective here. What’s especially notable about the fund is that so many of its LPs, despite stellar credentials, had never been asked to invest before.
“[Yen] has taken a group of highly successful, mostly women, who are not necessarily CEOs and who have not been invited into the somewhat clubby world of venture capital,” Dan Scheinman, a long-time angel investor and an advisor to the Operator Collective, told Michal.
The size of the fund is small—$45 million, though it’s not yet closed—especially compared to some of the giant funds that are now so prevalent in Silicon Valley. The small size reflects the small checks the fund has accepted—an intentional move.
“We have a sliding scale that allows different levels of investment,” says Seka. “We have people in the fund at $10,000 and some at more than $1 million. We’re not just raising a fund, we’re all going to be the next generation of investors.”
Yen says they didn’t set out to build a traditional VC firm. “We wanted to turn the model on its head.”
And considering the appalling underrepresentation of women and people of color at every level venture capital, the industry is long overdue for this kind of shake-up.
Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe.
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