CLF II

When we launched the CLF three years ago, we decided to focus on two main missions: connecting the world’s greatest cultural leaders to the best new technology companies and bringing more African Americans into the technology industry. With the support of our LPs, portfolio companies, and our extended network, we have developed a growing ecosystem that bridges culture and innovation.

Additionally, through CLF we have enabled more than $30 million of direct investments into our portfolio by Black investors, providing these LPs and individuals access to the next generation of wealth within the venture capital ecosystem.

We have also facilitated introductions between cultural leaders and our portfolio companies, sometimes resulting in equity partnership deals between those two parties. In equity deals, the cultural leaders are incentivized by a small percentage of ownership in a company, so they can share in more of the potential upside than offered by, say, a sponsorship deal. We’ve worked with crypto companies such as Bitski, Dapper Labs, Foundation, and OpenSea around such deals. In these instances, the cultural leaders are helping to further mainstream crypto — an important step for both the companies and our community if we want everything, from ownership models in the creative community to financial systems, to be more inclusive. We have facilitated similar equity partnerships with companies across our portfolio such as Hipcamp, Mercury, Overtime, Run The World, and Sandbox VR, among others.

While the Black community has historically played an important role in helping shape and grow some of the biggest social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Snap), we didn’t benefit from early equity participation in those companies and thus failed to capture the economic upside from our involvement. CLF is helping to change that.

As an example, CLF brought Black investors into the Clubhouse Series A round and worked closely with our network to collectively shape the platform’s behavior and culture during its beta phase. We also helped other non-CLF investors participate in the round. This investment was the first private market investment for many Clubhouse users such as Ros Gold Onwude, Chloe Arnold, Maud Arnold, Angela Rye, Julie Wenah, and Shaka Senghor, enabling a direct economic stake in Clubhouse and the communities they were responsible for creating.

We said previously that we intended to donate 100% of CLF I’s management fees and carry. To date, we have donated more than $1.5M in CLF management fees and carry to our non-profit partners, a range of organizations that are deeply committed to our shared mission of increasing Black representation in tech.

For people who are ready to explore new career paths into tech, our team also launched the CLF Network — a community made up of nearly 2,000 Black professionals — to start providing direct connections to roles at a16z portfolio companies. We’ve answered the demand with over 300 1:1 networking sessions, profile shares, and introductions since launch, along with community events. We also launched our CLF newsletter which features job openings and curated, short-form content catered to the interests of our community — from gaming and crypto to product management, new digital ownership models, and more.

Fund II

During the pandemic, we closed CLF II to create even more opportunities for Black cultural leaders who are interested in venture capital, technology, and the future of innovation. We also welcomed for the first time a number of HBCU endowments as limited partners in CLF II with the intention both to support the financial growth of their endowments and to provide additional resources to their students. Our relationships will also help foster a stronger talent pipeline between HBCUs and the overall technology industry. As an advisor to the Black Economic Alliance and Center of Black Entrepreneurship, I’ve already seen the positive impact of direct relationships between leadership at these institutions and Silicon Valley.

Looking ahead, I remain very excited about the prospects for CLF. We will change the face of the technology industry.

***

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements; a16z has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly as well as unannounced investments in publicly traded digital assets) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Leave a Reply