Since June, as waves of protests rolled from coast to coast, citizens and companies have reckoned with racial politics in the United States and the reality that our country doesn’t offer equal opportunity, or justice, for all—especially those who are Black. Borne of this moment are a patchwork of initiatives led by individuals, grassroots groups, and established firms hoping to mend the broken fabric of our nation, which has been torn by centuries of historical oppression.
Among them is Revolution, a venture capital firm that’s unveiling a $2 million initiative to support Black entrepreneurs. The firm, led by former AOL executive Steve Case, will host its “Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition” on December 1-3, a three-day event in partnership with Opportunity Hub, 100 Black Angels & Allies, and Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab. The event will include town halls with leaders of cities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and VC funds, and will culminate with a multi-million-dollar pitch contest for Black-founded companies based in the U.S.—but outside the startup meccas of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.
That’s keeping with Rise of the Rest‘s mission to promote diversity in entrepreneurship. Recent reports showed an overwhelming 78% of all venture capital went to just three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. And even more startlingly, only 1% of venture-backed companies have Black founders. Rise of the Rest aims to “break this cycle of money flowing to the same kinds of places and to people for ideas informed by similar upbringings, educational backgrounds, and life experiences,” it said in a statement.