Supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs

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2024-05-31
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The views expressed are those of the authors at the time of writing. Other teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of original investment. While any third-party data used is considered reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. For professional, institutional, or accredited investors only.

It is our core belief that talent is universal, but access to capital in the venture capital (VC) industry hasn’t been. This has created an incredibly differentiated, and we believe large, opportunity for value creation and return potential among founders who may have been unable to access the VC market. As such, we are thrilled to announce our early-stage VC platform, Wellington Access Ventures (WAV). WAV is focused on supporting talented Black, Latine, and women entrepreneurs, among others. We are excited to back these founders, from seed stage through Series A, as partners to help enable their ability to grow to what we believe will be industry-leading companies.

Importantly, the VC industry relies heavily on “pattern matching,” a methodology that entails evaluating startups based on what has worked before. The result is ever-more capital being funneled into the same homogeneous networks, leaving many from the aforementioned groups unable to access the benefits of VC partnerships that can be crucial to creating a successful business. Despite the lack of funding, there has been an undeniable growth of businesses being launched by founders from a wide range of backgrounds. From our vantage point, we see this as a market inefficiency and a differentiated opportunity to create value by partnering with ambitious and dynamic founders looking to change the world. 

We fundamentally believe that we are tapping into a market that has been historically overlooked and therefore have the opportunity to find and partner with founders who are building the next generation of industry-defining businesses.

Jackson Cummings
Head of Wellington Access Ventures

Deep networks in the early-stage diverse VC community

Not only are we thrilled about the opportunity that exists in the market to back Black, Latine, and women entrepreneurs, we are excited about the team we’ve assembled to go after this opportunity. Our diverse team brings decades’ worth of experience working with founders at firms that include Salesforce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Drive Capital, and H Ventures. Furthermore, this team has experience co-founding BLCK VC (the largest Black venture community in the US) and Black Venture Institute (an educational program for Black founders and operators), and as company founders. These backgrounds have helped forge deep networks and relationships across the VC community — all of which we aim to bring to bear for our founders. 

wav-team-new

From left to right: Frederik Groce, Sasha McKenzie, Jackson Cummings, and Van Jones.

Since founding WAV, we’ve been busy. The fund has made more than 12 portfolio investments in diverse founder-led companies, focused on businesses with the potential to become leaders in large or growing markets. Sectors identified by the WAV Team include artificial intelligence, DevOps, infrastructure, fintech, digital health, and consumer technology, each with a focus on cultural and demographic shifts. In addition, as part of our investment strategy, the WAV Team will partner with other diverse-led emerging fund managers to further strengthen and grow the venture ecosystem. Since launching, we’ve partnered with six incredible funds. 

accrue
binkey
binkey
cayaba care
chingona-ventures
clerkie
codesee
fearless fund
flavrs
january-ventures
kinside
lendtable
maza
meroxxa
movn health
new age capital
onu
seae ventures
serena ventures

WAV is also supported by the resources and networks of Wellington Management and its private investments platform. Wellington has more than 25 years of alternatives investing experience, manages more than US$30 billion in alternative assets including more than US$8 billion in private investments, and has more than US$1.1 trillion in public assets under management.1

In our view, this scale offers the critical network our portfolio companies can access to help grow their businesses and generate investor returns, including:

  • Wellington’s research platform, with industry analysts who can make introductions to potentially help accelerate business growth.
  • Our broader firm resources, including public and private market ESG experts, investment science professionals, debt investors, and much more.

By sharing our knowledge, resources, and network, we believe we can help our portfolio companies and VC partners attract additional investors and accelerate growth.

Bottom line on the early-stage venture opportunity

In our view, the growth of the increasingly diverse and underrepresented venture universe is just beginning. There are thousands of founders building the next generation of industry-leading companies and this opportunity set is significantly underappreciated in VC markets. We believe WAV can offer our portfolio companies access to networks and resources to help drive their long-term growth.


1Source: Wellington Management. Data as of 30 September 2023.

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