Soon after the 2022 Club Q massacre in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jackson Block took action to advance LGBTQ+ investment and support.
He joined forces with Tiana Tukes, both of whom are members of the LGBTQ+ and venture capital communities, and launched LGBT+ VC, a nonprofit providing opportunities to underrepresented communities in venture capital. It’s work that’s greatly needed, Block says.
“In this past year alone, there have been 650 anti-LGBTQ bills in 46 states, yet there’s been nothing said from the VC community.”
Block notes that while a large percentage of the country’s GDP comes from venture-backed businesses, less than 1% of VC funding goes to LGBTQ+ founders. “Our goal is to make more investors,” he says. “We’re not going to break the patterns until we focus on the supply side of the issue.” To do that, LGBT+ VC is providing access to networks, information, and capital and helping LGBTQ individuals become angels, investors, scouts, and limited partners.
Block says his Berkeley and Haas connections have helped him launch his business. He’s a board member of the Haas Alumni Network’s NYC Chapter and says the group has been consistently supportive. Last June, LGBT+ VC held its inaugural summit in New York, convening more than 500 VC and tech leaders to discuss the future of finance. It was one giant step toward reimagining business that benefits the global LGBTQ+ community.