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There are more women and POC running VC and PE firms than ever before—thanks in part to this ‘unsung hero’ investor

February 8, 2022, 2:15 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Bumble makes its first acquisition, Jill Biden’s signature legislation gets cut from Democrats’ agenda, and there are more women and people of color running VC and PE firms than ever before. Make the most of your Tuesday.

Today’s guest essay comes to us from Fortune senior writer Maria Aspan:

– New record. Reporting on the massively inequitable VC-backed startup ecosystem is all too often an exercise in grim percentages. So it’s a welcome change to have some good numbers to report: There are more women and people of color running venture capital and private equity funds than ever before.

In 2021, there were at least 627 U.S. PE and VC firms majority-owned by women and/or ethnic minorities, up 25% from a year earlier and an all-time high, according to a new annual report from Fairview Capital Partners. When the firm started publishing this data in 2014, Fairview found only about 100 investment firms that were majority-owned by underrepresented fund managers.

Of course, these investors only account for a single-digit sliver of total private equity raised last year. But as record amounts of money continue sloshing around the venture capital world, it’s promising to see more women and people of color in a position to share in the resulting wealth generated by billion-dollar IPOs and sales of VC-backed companies.

This “moment is going to be with us—and either you get on board, or get left behind,” JoAnn Price, cofounder and managing partner of Fairview, told me.

Price herself has played an influential role in getting others on board—for at least three decades—although she’s still somewhat of a hidden figure. A Black woman who launched Fairview in the early 1990s with cofounder Laurence C. Morse, Price now co-leads the second-largest Black-owned PE firm in the United States, according to Black Enterprise.

As a fund of funds, Fairview plays a more behind-the-scenes role in the industry than many VC and PE firms: It raises money from pension funds and other big, institutional investors, which it invests mostly in other VC and PE funds—including those run by newer and underrepresented managers, who might otherwise struggle to woo LPs of such scale.

The work has given Fairview a more muted reputation than that of its glamorous peers on Sand Hill Road. But several fund managers I spoke to last week argued that Price and her firm have more than earned their place in that VC pantheon.

“They’re the unsung heroes,” says Miriam Rivera, the former deputy general counsel at Google who’s now the CEO and cofounder of seed-stage tech fund Ulu Ventures, in which Fairview has invested. “Every person of color in the industry probably knows Fairview Capital.”

Read the full story here.

Maria Aspan
maria.aspan@fortune.com
@mariaaspan

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- The power of cinematography. Oscar nominations are rolling out this morning, and Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog is leading with 12 nominations—including best director for Campion and cinematography for Ari Wegner. She would be the first woman to win in that category—the only remaining one in which a woman has never woman an Academy Award. CNN

- Game on. Norway's ski jumping team is breaking sporting gender norms by merging its men and women's teams into one—a decision rooted in Olympic strategy. Mikaela Shiffrin's first race ended after the skier crashed on her opening run—but she still has four more events to go. American figure skater Karen Chen helped the U.S. secure a silver medal. Figure skater Zhu Yi, who was born in the U.S. but competes for China, has faced online vitriol after falling during her program. 

- Fruitz for sale. Bumble, led by founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, just made its first acquisition. The online dating business bought Fruitz, a French dating app with a user base across Europe. The companies didn't disclose the size of the acquisition. CNBC

- Legislative loss. First Lady Jill Biden's signature legislative push—for free community college—is the latest casualty of Democrats' negotiations to pass the Build Back Better package. "These aren’t just bills or budgets to me, to you, right?" the longtime professor and teacher said in a speech. "We know what they mean for real people, for our students. It was a real lesson in human nature that some people just don’t get that." New York Times

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Spark Capital added a new venture partner: Bitchcoin conceptual artist Sarah Meyohas. Libra Group hired former Wells Fargo VP for public affairs Emily Teitelbaum as chief communications officer. Paro hired Coyote Logistics' Christina Bottis as chief commercial officer.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Benefits package. Are fertility benefits an important component of a compensation and benefits package for you? Then check out The Muse during your next job search. The career site, led by founder Kathryn Minshew, is allowing job seekers to filter opportunities by such offerings. Minshew says the filter is another way for employers to stand out in a competitive market for talent. Fortune

- Christianity and the court. What is Amy Coney Barrett's long game? New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot dives into the Christian legal movement that produced Barrett and helped her reach the Supreme Court. The New Yorker

- League kickoff. Sarah Fuller, the former Vanderbilt soccer goalkeeper who became the first woman to score in a Power 5 football game, signed with the Minnesota Aurora FC of the USL W-League. She's the first player to join the team, which is part of a pre-professional league launching this year. The Athletic

- L.A. law. Naomi Seligman, a former spokeswoman for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, is asking prosecutors to charge the mayor with perjury for "repeatedly denying that he knew about another former aide’s alleged sexual misconduct." Seligman claims that Garcetti "conspir[ed] with top staffers to cover up multiple accusations of sexual harassment against Rick Jacobs." Jacobs has denied the harassment allegations, while Garcetti—who is currently nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to India—has said he knew nothing about them before they became public through a lawsuit. LA Times

ON MY RADAR

Harriet Tubman at 200 Ms. Magazine

The big idea: Can foreign policy be feminist? Guardian

Carrie Johnson says she has been targeted by 'brutal campaign' Guardian

PARTING WORDS

"I'm an underdog. I always feel like I was scrapping from the bottom. ... I always felt like I wasn't the one that was supposed to be in the room."

-Jennifer Lopez in a new Rolling Stone cover story

This is the web version of The Broadsheet, a daily newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.