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We've seen the pandemic disproportionately affect women and people of color in everything from sickness rates, unemployment rates, salary cuts to promotion rates and more. And venture capital funding did not escape the onslaught. In 2019, 2.8% of funding went to women-led startups; in 2020, it fell to 2.3% (and the 2.8% figure, while negligible, was an all-time high). Funding to Black-led startups dropped to 0.06% last year from a minuscule 1% in 2019. However, changemakers in the VC ecosystem are continuing to work hard to create a more equitable future.

Female Founders Fund (FFF) announced the closing of its Fund III after raising $57 million to create what it considers "the largest fund for seed capital specifically for female founders." Anu Duggal, a founding partner of FFF, said that the third fund's portfolio is already 70% invested in BIPOC founders.

Additionally, funding to Black entrepreneurs in the US reached nearly $1.8 billion through the first half of 2021 — a more than 4x increase compared to the same time frame last year. Led by funding to early-stage startups, this year's half-year total has already surpassed the $1 billion invested in Black founders in all of 2020 and the $1.4 billion invested the year before that.

As many seek to create a "new normal," we look forward to seeing more record-breaking funds and increased funding that support more people in more places.

"Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me."
- Arianna Huffington, Co-founder of HuffPost and CEO of Thrive Global
ESG + Corporate Responsibility
In the last two years, inflows into environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds had a 10-fold growth to $51.1 billion. Jean Case breaks down the ESG momentum during her recent conversation with Steve Clemons. She notes that many are feeling empowered and asking, "How can I use my capital to get more than just a financial return?"
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Sovereign Asset Managers Raise ESG Focus
A recent Invesco survey found that around a third of central banks and sovereign wealth funds have increased focus on ESG issues over the last year as the pandemic highlighted issues ranging from carbon emissions to inequality.
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Y Combinator Wants to Find You a Business Partner
Y Combinator created a matching tool to help changemakers — with and without a startup idea — the ability to connect and work together on the next big thing. There are additional resources from Inc. at the bottom of the article to help you on your journey of finding a co-founder.
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Beyond Securing the Bag
Britney Winters, founder of Upgrade — a platform selling high-quality, customized wigs and hair products, shares her experience raising $2 million in venture capital. Winters also highlights learning moments and advice for other fearless entrepreneurs looking to pursue VC funding.
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Corporations Focus on Social Justice, But Still Have a Long Way to Go
While just 32% of the US population feels the country has progressed in addressing racial injustice over the past year, consumers are rewarding businesses that step up. According to a recent survey, 20% of consumers are more likely to support companies and leaders who publicly advocate for social justice causes and prioritize diversity and inclusion in their charitable efforts and hiring practices.
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Carbon Clean 200
Are you fired up about cooling the planet? Check out the "Carbon Clean 200," a list of publicly traded companies leading the way in the transition to a clean energy future.
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