Reinventure Capital & Koa Labs
In addition to direct investments in early stage start-ups, Koa Fund 2 is investing in focused investment funds in order to maximize the number of founders we get to help support. There are many great funds that I’m affiliated with, but I’m particularly thrilled to be investing as an LP with Ed Dugger, Julianne Zimmerman and the incredible team at Reinventure Capital. Ed was originally introduced to me by Rick Klau who many know is a force in the startup community. I’m also excited to be a co-investor at Reinventure with Mass Mutual — and respect the strong commitment to Reinventure by MassMutual.
If you’re reading this, chances are you know that I am deeply committed to people. Startups and jobs come and go over time, so it’s really the people and relationships between great people that matter. As a founder and serial entrepreneur, I’m even more irrational when it comes to supporting first time founders. All of the funds I invest in have strong focuses or resources to support founders — especially first time founders. Reinventure invests in companies led and controlled by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and other People of Color). Ed’s fund is laser focused on expanding access to capital for incredibly promising founders, who often face barriers breaking into what can be a tight knit and inward looking community. As the Reinventure team points out — and you should spend a ton of time on their incredible website — 90% of investment capital goes to the same demographic as the investor. We’re working hard at Koa to break that dysfunctional behavior. In our first fund at Koa Labs Fund, the majority of our investments were in underserved founder communities — women and immigrants primarily — and our returns on Fund I are as good/better than most @ 37%+ net IRR. I truly believe that investing in diversity is both a moral imperative and good business. Being a founder is already crazy hard — it shouldn’t be harder just because of someone’s background or heritage.
I think that data makes it clear that instead of looking inwards, successful entrepreneurs and investors should be looking to expand their networks. As Ed puts it, expansion can be as simple as having conversations with people who you may not share many experiences with. It can also look like extending opportunities to others. In my own life, I recognize that while many of the opportunities that I’ve had have come from hard work, many have also come from a place of privilege. Paying it forward by creating opportunities for others is something concrete that I can do to help increase diversity in tech and entrepreneurship. To quote Ed again: sharing privilege creates opportunities for others.
I can’t imagine a better team to allow investors like me to share in creating those opportunities.
To repeat, working to increase diversity and inclusion is also good business. Research demonstrates over and over that companies that have — and value — diverse viewpoints at every level of the organization experience better outcomes. On the investment side, Ed’s team has shown that investing in BIPOC founded and controlled companies is a fantastic investment strategy too.