Growing up in the Caribbean’s blue hued waters I learned to swim with the help of an extended hand. Using my mom as a launching pad, I would daringly leap towards my dad’s outstretched arms. On moving to Texas, a friend relayed his dad just threw him into the deep end and bellowed, “Swim.”
We all diverge on how to best offer help. Consider the racial disparities in wealth, homeownership, income, education, and health. Today, median White families possess 8 times more wealth than median Black families. Black men are incarcerated at 5 times the rate of White men. Black teenage lives are frequently traded for stand-your-ground laws.
The disparities create an imbalance in our journeys. Our individual lived experiences lead some of us to believe the best way to remediate these inequities is to let you be. Others of us have had lived experiences that instilled the value of extending a hand. Based on these facts, you might understand why determining how to help right our wrongs is hard.
So, is there a third option out there? One that both lets you be and extends a hand? An option that enlarges the pie for everyone?
Data from the US Federal Reserve suggests there’s an extra $22 trillion in wealth that we could have added to the US economic pie since 1990 had we given others a shot. For context, US GDP in 2023 is $23 trillion. GDP could have doubled in 30 years time had we all helped decrease racial and gender inequality. Imagine if you currently had double your income.
To double your wealth, data points to supporting programs that aim to increase entrepreneurship, home ownership, career certifications, and/or preventative healthcare. So as I consider the data and the four plus decades of lived experiences that shape me, this third option compels me.
Raising and investing capital in entrepreneurial ventures defines my professional path. A journey that began twenty-five years ago in Argentina on realizing the power of entrepreneurship to shape economies, drive innovation and bring hope. On this journey I've engendered friends around the world, built many businesses, blazed new trails, and filled my cup with vibrancy and empathy.
Supporting entrepreneurship programs lines up with my path. So, when the opportunity emerged to lead The PAR Fund, I lept.
The PAR Fund is a professional membership organization, a national nonprofit. Our membership believes we can reduce racial and gender inequality by advocating for and increasing capital allocations to founders who lack relationships with venture capital investors. Relationships are critical in the venture capital industry. Investors generate returns by discovering exceptional startups. The primary means of discovering these startups is through professional relationships. These networks, however, are not very diverse. Network members are related by gender, race, education, & profession. Consequently, founders who don’t relate are less likely to raise venture capital.
Historically, venture capital has allocated 10% of investable assets towards startups founded by women, Black, Latino, LGBT, and Southeast Asian entrepreneurs–the very founders we support. These founders are underrepresented within the venture space and often struggle to endure the first five years of business because they lack access to capital. Data suggests that the pathway to increased wealth is significantly greater for founders who are empowered to create and grow their businesses in the first five years compared to salaried workers.
The PAR Fund exists because our members possess and are willing to share with underrepresented founders our networks to capital allocators. We are a group of institutional investors, corporate executives and seasoned entrepreneurs committed to paying forward the opportunities others provided to us throughout our journeys. To date, we have helped founders raise $10M in capital. Collectively, we aim to foment connections between underrepresented entrepreneurs and private capital investors in order to add trillions in business revenue to the US economy, and help expand the pie.
Care to join me in my journey alongside The PAR Fund?