In venture capital these days, it is in vogue to talk about backing diverse or underserved founders. It is wholly another matter, however, to authentically do something about it, to indelibly shift investment strategy in more culturally representative and ultimately successful ways. Today, less than 10% of venture funding goes to women entrepreneurs, less than 1% to Black entrepreneurs, 0.4% to Latina founders and 0.2% to female Black founders. What is abundantly clear is that nothing changes if nothing changes.
This post was first published here.
In 2019 and 2020 YTD, Bonsal Capital has made nine new investments — six…
Three and a half years ago, for the second time in my life, I drew a line in the sand and worked to induce a positive, healthy self-transformation. The first time was 33 years ago, when I started my sobriety journey. Yes, I have been sober for over three decades, but that’s a story for another time.
In mission-driven investing, and in life, when you see evidence that something impactful is working, with momentum and increasingly at scale, you lean in and do what you can to further catalyze growth. When the end user impact is sincere and lasting, you double down on your investment, whether financial, temporal or emotional.
1999 was the final year of a dynamic millennium, a year with memorable national and global milestones. It was the year of U.S. tragedies, both man-made (a horrific Columbine school shooting and Fort Worth church bombing/shooting), and natural (via devastating CAT 5 tornado in Oklahoma City). It was the year the U.S. Women’s soccer team won the World Cup and the The Great One (Wayne Gretsky) retired from the NHL. It was also the year Bonsal Capital was formed, as Frank Bonsal Jr. began the multi-year wind down of his 25 year full-time role as General Partner and co-founder of…
For a century and a half, Towson University (TU) has been authentically serving all manner of students for careers in education, healthcare, business, communications, and a plethora of other industries. Add entrepreneurship and startups to this mix and the affect is no less sincere but whose continuum is considerably shorter, somewhere between ten and fifteen years. This post is a reflection on my five-and-a-half years serving startups from TU as I reach another professional inflection point in a mission-driven career, where I have the opportunity to aid the Capital Region in new and differentiated ways.
It has been too long since I have been in the game, actively making new investments in education technology; I do partake in follow-ons from existing investments but basically nothing new in the last two years. Stay tuned for a hopeful, new investment vehicle late this year where I get back in the game. Until then, with distance from the playing field, I’ve been thinking about why I might have had success in the past — and where failure has indelibly layered scar upon scar, which does heal with time and recalibrated vigor. …
You want to help a college student succeed but you are having a hard time getting them to engage? Get in the cross hairs of someone they love, someone they talk to, someone or something they listen to and trust. The parent side of student success is a critical factor in many student journeys and one in which CampusESP was built upon.
Per the video below, CampusESP is a company built to serve students, parents (or family members), and institutions. …
An abundance of quality, engaged mentors in any entrepreneurship ecosystem is only second in importance to the entrepreneurs who stand up and grow new companies and solutions. Brad Feld, reputed Boulder-based venture capitalist, defines mentors in his book Startup Communities as “experienced entrepreneurs or investors who actively contribute time, energy, and wisdom to startups…”
This general definition can be further defined below as a truncated part of the Techstars mentor manifesto:
Which side of the investment pitch table have you been on? For me, the investor (or buy side) role has been the norm, so keep that top of mind as you read and perhaps heed the suggestions in this post.
I approach life, work, and relationships along trendlines. Usually, I am not too bothered by negative occurrences, nor fantastic outcomes, largely because they neither last long, nor arrive in contiguous ripples or waves. They are, however, worth lauding in concise and sincere ways when they turn out at or above expectations.
Recently, thirty somewhat randomly turned out as an important moniker in my life as pegged to a broad set of milestones in my personal and professional journeys. For me, thirty arrived fourfold in 2018. Allow me to explain.