Underrepresented founders are underdogs

Building a Conscious VC Fund

Lousy VCs

It’s disturbing to see how skewed the venture ecosystem is towards underrepresented founders, i.e., ventures led by the female, non-privileged founders. The problem stems from the check-writers, i.e., venture capitalists and fund managers, where representation is even more skewed.

I think that’s the major problem, as they live in their own bubble who don’t want to do the hard work of really reaching out to a larger community of unrepresented and underrepresented founders. Let’s call them Lousy VCs.

Competitive Edge: Investing in underrepresented founders

Investing in underrepresented founders is an edge, similar to investing in ONLY female founders is also an edge. I believe every human has potential. The trick lies in identifying them first and then helping them unleash it.

The potential is not defined by if you went to Harvard, or McKinsey, or even Lambda. Instead, it is determined by the creative confidence by being gritty, ambitious, and conscious. I find so many authentic under-dogs, especially men/women coming from small towns and cities. The talent doesn't only reside in SF, or NY, or Bangalore, or Jakarta. Instead, it is everywhere; it's equally distributed. What's missing is our biased mind not identifying them and providing the right support, especially the financial support, and showing them the belief.

Just to put some numbers in context regarding investing in female founders, a new analysis by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that if women and men around the world participated equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could ultimately rise by approximately 3% to 6%, boosting the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion. TRILLION DOLLAR opportunity.

Diversity Initiatives

There are some commendable initiatives, communities, and ecosystems that I have personally come across recently, which shows hope that we are moving towards dismantling the white men privilege in the venture ecosystem. Some examples:

XFactor Ventures: a pre-seed fund focused on investing in female founders with billion-dollar ideas. 

Hack.Diversity: a non-profit program to identify, support, and train young engineers of color and secure jobs at the top innovation economy companies. 

Diversity VC is working with entrepreneurs, investors, and universities to create an industry free from bias.

GenderSmart Investing Convening Leaders and Decision-Makers from Across the World to Unlock Gender-Smart Capital at Scale.

Humble ventures, increasing the representation of underserved communities, and providing a new network for investors to discover tech talent.

Let’s embrace diversity, kill the privilege, and hence make a conscious world!


I plan to work with First-time fund managers (FTFMs), international NGOs, foundations, corporations, CSRs, and philanthropists to provide unique market acceleration opportunities to launch their impact funds and impact venture studios impact bonds, and any other form of blended investment vehicle.

If you are looking for one of them, please visit http://bit.ly/impactfunddesign to know more and write to me at sagar@firstfollowers.co. I would love to learn more from you and would be happy to help in any way.


"first followers" is founded by Sagar Tandon. You can reach out to me at sagar@firstfollowers.co.

The "first followers" is a monthly newsletter covering impact investing, venture capital, innovative financing instruments, and venture building.

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