Venture Capital Access Program launches to aid women and diverse entrepreneurs

We are in the midst of two great disruptions to American business:

  • the internet’s ongoing disruption of most traditional industries: finance, healthcare, retail, finance, fashion, etc.
  • the shift of America to a majority minority country by 2050.

Any company that aspires to maintain a leadership position needs to position itself to exploit these two macro trends. I am very happy to announce today a new program I’ve been working on designed to support women and diverse entrepreneurs, particularly those in the technology sector.  I’ve attached below the full press release; please tell your friends!

Pioneering Program Launched by Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of New York and the National Association of Investment Companies

VCAP© Addresses the Gap between Venture Capital and Funding for Women and Diverse Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK, May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York (HBSAANY) and The National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) today announced the launch of the Venture Capital Access Program (“VCAP©”), a collaborative venture that provides women and diverse entrepreneurs nationwide with access to venture capital through accredited investors within the HBSAANY network.   VCAP©, the first program of its kind, bridges the gap between venture capitalists and angel investor networks and women and diverse entrepreneurs, many of whom have not traditionally had access to these sources of capital.

HBSAANY is comprised of New York City tri-state area Harvard alumni who are venture capitalists and other accredited investors investing in early-stage, private companies around the United States. The National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) is the trade association representing women and diverse private equity and venture firms.  VCAP© will be operated through NAIC’s subsidiary, The Marathon Foundation, a business development network that supports entrepreneurial growth, access to capital and deal flow. HBSAANY’s investment in VCAP© was inspired in part by the Harvard Business School U.S. Competitiveness Project and its call for HBS alumni to help continue U.S. competitiveness.

“The Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York is one of the most successful and active angel investor networks in the country,” said Ed Dandridge, President and Chief Executive Officer of NAIC.  “We are pleased to partner with them on VCAP©, which will provide women and diverse entrepreneurs with access to capital essential to innovation and job creation.”

“The $6 trillion annual diverse marketplace represents a significant and often overlooked investment opportunity,” said David Teten, Founder and Chairman of HBSAANY, and Partner at ff Venture Capital.  “Research has proven that investors who focus in less-contested sectors and who source proprietary investments get superior returns. VCAP© provides our members with a pipeline of unique opportunities.”

In addition to serving as a catalyst for job creation, women and diverse businesses, which are owned, operated and/or led by minorities, provide an important source of investment returns.  According to a study performed by the Kauffman Foundation and the Angel Capital Education Foundation, angel investments generate net annualized returns of approximately 27%, beating many traditional forms of investing.  Women-owned businesses, according to the Forte Foundation represent about 775,000 new startups per year.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce & the Minority Business Development Agency, between 2002 and 2007, diverse-owned firms outpaced the growth of non-diverse firms in gross receipts and employment. During the same period, paid employment of diverse businesses grew by 24% compared to a decrease in employment of 1.1% for non-diverse firms.

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The initial VCAP© pilot cycle commences today. The VCAP© program is national, and open to all entrepreneurs and private companies seeking investment capital.  There is no registration fee for members of the Marathon Foundation. For non-members of Marathon Foundation, a $500 registration fee is required to join the VCAP© program.  VCAP© applicants will be reviewed in a series of screenings conducted by the Marathon VCAP© selection committee, HBSAANY, and NAIC board members. VCAP© finalists will be announced Monday, June 18th and will present their business plans to HBSAANY angel investors at a Pitch Night in New York on Wednesday, June 27th.  VCAP© finalists will also be invited to present at Marathon’s 7th Annual DealMakers’ Summit July 23rd and 24th at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago. Entrepreneurs can apply through Marathon’s website at

About Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York
The Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York (HBSAANY) is a nonprofit organization consisting of Harvardalumni in the greater New York area committed to investing in early-stage, private businesses and supporting the local start-up ecosystem.  The organization invests in companies led by both Harvard and non-Harvard alums across all industries.  HBSAANY members include venture capitalists, individual accredited investors, and other institutional investors.  HBSAANY currently invests at a pace of close to $2 million in 7-10 companies per year. For more information,  or on Twitter: @HBSAngelsNY.

About The National Association of Investment Companies
The National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) is a 501(c)(6) trade association representing women and diverse alternative asset managers whose investment strategies focus on mid-market opportunities. Founded in 1970, NAIC firms invest in venture (early stage/later stage) and private equity (growth/buyout/mezzanine/distressed/secondary funds). NAIC firms generate significant returns for institutional investors and shareholders by investing in and transforming privately held businesses in global emerging markets as well as the $6 trillion annual women and diverse U.S. domestic market. For more information, visit:

About The Marathon Foundation
The Marathon Foundation (TMF) is a business development network dedicated to entrepreneurial growth, access to capital and deal flow.   Formerly the Marathon Club, TMF is an inclusive eco-system of entrepreneurs, corporate professionals, Fortune 500s, tech companies and consumer brands that leverage best practices and strategic relationships. TMF’s thought leadership programs focus on women and diverse small business creation and the associated job growth that will drive sustained U.S. economic growth. For more information, visit:

(Photo credit:  Untitled blue)

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  1. andrewackerman says

    Feel free to pile on me but I don’t think the solution is making it easier for women / minorities to reach angels.  Several years ago, a friend in VC explained why he almost never looked at unsolicited business plans: he is so visible on various social networks that if an entrepreneur can’t wrangle a warm intro to him, he had to seriously doubt his or her ability to network to potential customers, partners, new hires, etc.  Since then, AngelList, incubators, and angel groups have only made it easier to get in front of potential investors.  
    Educating potential entrepreneurs about how the VC/angel space works, how to use LinkedIn, AngelList, etc. most effectively, how to network better as well as providing mentors who can work with them on building these skills – these all feel right to me.  
    But since the bar to actually getting a signed check is (correctly) not being lowered, simply increasing access w/o skill building is just setting these new potential entrepreneurs up for rejection.