Ulu Ventures CEO and Managing Director Miriam Rivera urges industry leaders in venture capital to make a concerted effort to invest in diverse managers.
Changing venture capital and assets under management is a big task. Currently, about 1.3% of the world’s wealth is managed by women or people of color. That means 98+% is managed by white men. Venture is probably the industry with the least diverse set of leaders out there. In order to change that, limited partners have to change their behavior. They need to meet with underrepresented minority and female managers. They need to make different investment allocations. Don’t do it because they’re people of color or women, do it because they financially outperform other managers. That’s what the data show and that’s what we think people’s fiduciary duty is: to actually make the best investments they can.
In response to Black Lives Matter, many companies and limited partners made a concerted effort to invest in diverse fund managers. We received some benefit from that, but we were also told in many cases that our firm was so successful, we didn’t need help. I don’t appreciate that. People still perceive investing in diverse managers as providing “help”, as opposed to making a good investment decision.
Ulu helps facilitate this transition to investing in diverse managers by being the best manager we can be of the resources that we receive from our limited partners. We invest in the most talented and diverse teams that we can find, and we help build them into public companies.
We also invest in educating young people in venture capital, both internally within Ulu and remotely through organizations that are educating the next generation of fund managers. I speak at those kinds of events regularly. We also hire interns, and we’re hiring junior staff that will probably be as diverse as the portfolio we have.
My dream for Ulu is to be the premier seed stage in the United States. We want to have $1 billion in assets under management before I retire, and have the firm being led by a diverse team that will make the best investments in diverse teams moving forward.