Black & Latinx Venture Capitalists Converge For Culture Shifting Weekend NYC
October 31, 2019
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November 14, 2019

Culture Shifting Weekend NYC Celebrates 10 Years With Largest Gathering of Black & Latinx VCs

Photo Courtesy of Culture Shift Labs

Industry heavyweights and seasoned venture capitalists descended on New York City earlier this month for the highly anticipated Culture Shifting Weekend NYC.

The three-day event at various locations across the city is the largest gathering of Black and Latinx venture capitalists. The goal is to create an intimate setting for collaborating, deal-making, and dialogue to disrupt inequity in the sector.

Now in its 10th consecutive year, the invitation-only event brought together 200 handpicked guests working in tech, innovation, and social impact. The weekend (Oct. 31-Nov 2) offered VCs, entrepreneurs, corporate players, and the investment community-at-large direct face-to-face engagement with the vast and growing GP ecosystem.

Carmen Palafox is a partner at MiLA Capital, an early-stage venture fund and accelerator. “Thank you for all you do,” said Palafox in response to the benefits of attending CSW NYC. “You really do #makeshifthappen. We are already reaping benefits of CSW and have secured two-LP meetings and have intros to supporting organizations.”

Photo Courtesy of Culture Shift Labs

Spearheaded by boutique management consultancy firm Culture Shift Labs (CSL), this year’s convening was powered by lead sponsor Vista Equity Partners and hosted by Salesforce at their NYC offices. Highlights included fireside chats with Venmo co-founder Iqram Magdon-Ismail; Carmichael Roberts, Founder of the $110M venture fund Material Impact; and the iconic Hollywood producer and director F. Gary Gray, whose films have grossed over $2 billion at the box office.

Other prominent guests included Will Allen, former NFL safety; Byron Boston, President, CEO and co-CIO, Dynex Capital; Eve Burton, Chief Legal Officer, Hearst; David Carey, Chairman, Hearst; Julia Collins, Co-founder, Zume Pizza; Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley; and Juan Martinez, CFO, Knight Foundation, among others.

Writing Big Checks

Following a kickoff cocktail reception at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater on Halloween night, sponsored by the Black Economic Alliance, the conference program commenced on Friday with welcome remarks by Andrea Hoffman, CSL founder and CEO, and Culture Shifting Weekend (CSW) partner Denmark West, chief investment officer of Connectivity Ventures, who reminded the audience that they were there to “write big checks.”

Since pivoting the NY event to creating an environment for “deals and collaborations” in 2017, connections made at CSW have led over $100 million of allocations from institutional limited partners (LPs) to Black and Latinx VCs (GPs). By this time next year, CSL’s goal is to triple that number to $300 million. To enable further investment at this year’s event, CSL scheduled several one-on-one meetings throughout the weekend between and LPs and GPs in attendance.

Photo Courtesy of Culture Shift Labs

Friday’s program began with a fireside chat with Magdon-Ismail (interviewed by the Juan Martinez), followed by panels of institutional investors (Colonial Consulting, Carnegie Corporation of New York, GCM Grosvenor, University of California Investment Office, and Cambridge Associates) and corporate VCs (Agile Equites, Boeing HorizonX Ventures, Motley Fool Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and USAA) led by Karen Kerr of Agile Equites.

The remainder of Friday’s run of show included: “I am a VC”, a showcase of success stories of 15 emerging Black and Latinx VCs; a panel of the founders of LatinxVC; an affinity group of Latinx venture capitalists; and an interview with successful entrepreneurs Wayne Purboo and Julia Collins, the first black female founder of a unicorn company, led by William Crowder of 42 Venture Partners.

RELATED: THE RISE OF DIVERSITY FOCUSED VENTURE CAPITAL

Big Plans For Future

The Friday leg of the weekend concluded with an Ecosystem Networking Reception and Dinner hosted by Hearst at the signature Hearst Tower in Columbus Circle, with support from Pacific West Bank.

On Saturday, the momentum continued back at the Salesforce offices, beginning with a networking breakfast and followed by a Funds of Funds conversation with Daryn Dodson of Illumen Capital led by Elliot Robinson of Bessemer Venture Partners.

The program continued with a panel of family office investors, and a fireside chat with Carmichael Roberts, Ph.D., co-founder of Material Impact. Maryam Haque, SVP of Industry Advancement for the National Venture Capital Association followed with a presentation on the state of the VC industry. The final panel of the event featured Impact Investors led by Laura Weidman Powers of Echoing Green in conversation with the executives from the Surdna Foundation, Pier 70 Ventures, and the Kellogg Foundation.

Photo Courtesy of Culture Shift Labs

The event concluded with a fireside chat with F. Gary Gray, interviewed by producer, writer, director, and comedian Chris Spencer.

“After a decade of progress amplifying the profile and advancing the impact of this community, we are just getting started,” said Hoffman. “The talent, community and most importantly, capital, is in place for another great decade of success and outcomes.”

Culture Shifting Weekend sponsors included: Vista Equity Partners, Hearst, Boeing, Fenwick & West, Paypal, Salesforce, SAP, SAP.io, Silicon Valley Bank, Samsung NEXT, Surdna Foundation, Uber, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Colonial Consulting, Gunderson Dettmer, Morgan Stanley, Pacific Western Bank, RBC Capital Markets, JPMorgan Chase Advancing Black Pathways and VMS. UrbanGeekz was one of the official media partners.

Photo Courtesy of Culture Shift Labs

Main Featured Image: courtesy of Culture Shift Labs

Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti

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Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.
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