In the summer of 2020 the awareness around race and racial inequities shook America and brought new scrutiny to all corners of our culture and institutions. This also permeated business ecosystems and the venture capital world, proving that more action is needed. From protests to corporations making concentrated efforts to diversify their workforce, it was clear that the status quo would no longer be tolerated.
At Mach49, we are situated amongst large multinational corporations, an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and some of the best VCs in the world. From this vantage point, we have noticed the pattern matching of years past and taken action against it because we believe a more diverse set of people deserve funding and limited partnership.
Core to our business is launching new ventures inside of corporations to build future growth. We have the great fortune of being able to tap into the diverse teams at those companies to cultivate leaders who have myriad skill sets, ideas, perspectives, and parent company (or “mothership”) know-how. We blend this with sourcing external experts to build a team that is best positioned for success. Bringing together these leaders is what we can call “democratizing entrepreneurship,” because there aren’t just one or two types of people who would excel in a venture building environment, we know there are countless.
To further explore the democratization of entrepreneurship, we interviewed Monifa Porter, our SVP and Head of 2401. She breaks down the topic, “When you've got one kind of VC that's doing pattern matching to figure out who to fund, you're going to have a very limited channel of ventures that get funded. When you broaden the venture capital scope, including broadening where the money is coming from, we are going to see a broader array of ventures get funded.”
So how do corporations launch successful new ventures with diversity and inclusion front and center?
“Look Beyond the Harvard Dropout Who Wears a Hoodie”
There are so many future entrepreneurs and leaders already within your ranks. They know your business, they know your customers, they can see the opportunities. It’s about empowering them to use the deep expertise they have with your company and giving them the tools they need to learn how to build new products and services that will expand your offerings and audience.
Source Candidates from a Variety of Places
Sometimes new ventures can grow faster with the help of external subject matter experts on the team. To bring in these candidates, Mach49 taps into multiple networks to source them. Porter explains, “we work with our individual personal networks, we work with recruiters, we work with staffing agencies, and we're just looking for the best people to join the team. What that means is we're hiring well beyond Silicon Valley, we're hiring inside the corporation but we're also hiring external folks to bring specific expertise around product building or team leadership… It's a mix of insiders from inside the corporation who know the business well and outsiders who can be orthogonal thinkers and bring that expansive sort of worldview to the team.”
Disrupt Markets with New Ideas
Coming up with new, challenging, interesting ideas is the only way to truly drive corporate growth. Sure, competitors might be clamoring to add a new feature that customers have deemed a must-have, but fast-following isn’t going to move the needle years down the road. Instead, we encourage investment in long-horizon ventures that drive meaningful growth for the mothership and address global challenges. It takes a diverse team with a deep understanding of the market, mothership, and customers to be able to move forward and create something that redefines a corporation’s position in their market.
There is a mismatch between what drives growth at corporations and the antiquated status quo. Entrepreneur Magazine's 2018 article reported that “the average entrepreneur is white, male, well-educated, in his 30s with older siblings and from a wealthy background.” But it is clear that funding this demographic exclusively doesn’t lead to the results that corporations require for growth through new ventures. More diverse teams outperform financially. Corporations must take the makeup of their staff and add external team members with new perspectives to build a team that is best positioned for success.
To truly democratize entrepreneurship, opportunities need to be extended to a more diverse set of entrepreneurs. A corporation is on the way to significant growth when they are able to broaden entrepreneurship opportunities to the untapped leaders inside and outside of the organization.
Learn more about Mach49’s approach to the democratization of entrepreneurship in this video.