Photo via a16z

Inside a16z’s Third Cultural Leadership Fund for Black Equity in Tech

The Cultural Leadership Fund has raised more than $60 million and invested in over 300 a16z portfolio companies since its inception in 2018.

Andreessen Horowitz’s Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF) today announced its third fund to continue connecting Black investors and talent with the tech industry.

Megan Holston-Alexander, a partner at a16z and leader of CLF, told Boardroom in an exclusive interview that with the close of this new fund, CLF will continue pushing its mission forward and making sure Black communities aren’t left behind as the tech industry continues to expand.

“The mission of CLF is two-fold. The first is connecting the world’s greatest cultural leaders to the best in technology companies,” said Holston-Alexander. “The second mission is getting more African Americans in the technology industry.”

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CLF’s Success and Growth

A16z founded CLF in 2018 to address access and equity gaps for Black communities in the tech industry. The fund is focused exclusively on Black Limited Partners and co-invests in a16z portfolio companies.

The Cultural Leadership Fund doesn’t share how much venture capital is included in each of its funds specifically, but the organization has raised more than $60 million and invested in over 300 a16z portfolio companies across various industries including consumer, crypto, fintech, and biotech.

Megan Holston-Alexander. (Photo courtesy of Andreessen Horowitz)

Holston-Alexander told Boardroom that CLF started out with only two employees. Now, the fund has grown to a team of six, including former sports manager Deborah Embaie and entertainment manager Derek Dolin. Holston-Alexander took over leadership of CLF last summer.

Aside from putting Black dollars into the hands of deserving Black founders, the Cultural Leadership Fund has also contributed $2.5 million to nonprofits focused on supporting Black tech entrepreneurship since 100% of a16z’s management fees and carried interest are donated.

CLF isn’t only fostering relationships and opportunities for the Black community through VC investing; the fund also manages the CLF Talent Network to help connect Black professionals with opportunities in the tech industry.

Following the launch of this third fund, Holston-Alexander said CLF is focusing on building its network of investors and founders, and further developing its community builder’s program for emerging tech nonprofits.

New Investors Joining CLF III

The third Cultural Leadership Fund includes investors from its first two funds as well as a new group of Black cultural leaders and organizations. Holston-Alexander said in an announcement blog post that “the age of the disengaged celebrity is over,” and this list of new investors is a testament to that.

“Our investors are all of these people who have amazing cultural influence,” said Holston-Alexander. “There has been a narrative, especially over the last few years, about being more than that. There are so many people that are interested in being in business. For CLF, we tap into folks who are in these cultural leadership roles but they are excited about technology, interested in innovation, [and] want to play a role in things that are being built across this industry.”

CLFIII’s Notable New Investors:
  • Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye
  • Anderson .Paak
  • Andrea and Charles Young
  • Anré Williams
  • Ben Simmons
  • Blake Griffin
  • Bubba Wallace
  • Clarence Nesbitt
  • Deandre Ayton
  • Danny Green
  • Dez Bryant
  • DJ Augustin
  • Erin Teague
  • Kelvin Beachum
  • Kenneth Frank
  • Kyle Lowry
  • La Mar Taylor
  • Leonard Fournette
  • Lionel Richie
  • Maya Moore
  • MK
  • Nneka Ogwumike
  • Patrick Mahomes
  • Pharrell Williams
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
  • Troy Millings
  • Rashad Bilal
  • Shellye Archambeau
  • Stacy Brown-Philpot
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