Visible Hands Announces Its Inaugural Cohort of Underrepresented Founders for Its Fellowship program
Visible Hands — an investment firm with a fellowship program that funds and supports underrepresented founders — announces its first cohort of 51 entrepreneurs
BOSTON, MA — August 18th, 2021 — Visible Hands is thrilled to announce its inaugural cohort of “Visionaries’’ for its first fellowship program running from September 13, 2021, through December 17, 2021. This cohort of 51 underrepresented founders come from across disciplines and the nation and are dedicated to building tech-enabled or tech companies. Learn more about the full cohort here.
“We are thrilled to announce our inaugural cohort of exceptionally talented entrepreneurs. This selection process was incredibly competitive. We are proud to fund and support our portfolio of diverse founders,” said Justin Kang, Co-Founder, and General Partner at Visible Hands.
Launched in 2020, Visible Hands is a new pre-seed investment firm with a virtual-first, 14-week fellowship program to support women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, non-binary, and other overlooked founders in launching tech startups. With the vision of narrowing the VC funding gap, Visible Hands aims to help create hundreds of companies led by underrepresented founders.
Over 900 applicants applied for Visible Hands’ inaugural fellowship program, with 60% of applicants identifying as Black, African American, or Latinx and over 57% of applicants identifying as Women. Additionally, approximately 70% of applicants applied with a Minimal Viable Product or Prototype and/or had an idea. The finalized cohort of 50 entrepreneurs features over 70% of founders identifying as female and over 60% of the cohort identifying as Black, African American, or Latinx.
Notably, the Visible Hands Fellowship Program is supported by top-tier organizations such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs’ Launch With GS initiative, Bombas, State Street, Level Up Ventures, and First Republic Bank. Notably, Massachusetts-based Liberty Mutual Insurance joins the cause as a Presenting Sponsor of Visible Hands’ fellowship program through the highest-level commitment of $750,000 over three years. The firm joins JPMorgan Chase & Co at this level, which announced the same philanthropic commitment in June.
“Furthering our deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are eager to leverage our resources to make the early-stage startup ecosystem more equitable and accessible for underrepresented founders,” said Liberty Mutual Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Global Retail Markets, Julie Haase. “Visible Hands is uniquely positioned to provide underrepresented entrepreneurs with the opportunity to build innovative companies, and we look forward to supporting the inaugural cohort as they begin their journey.”
“The outpouring of interest and applications showcases the need for programs such as Visible Hands, which will directly impact these previously underserved founders,” said Cate Costa, Vice President, Global Small Business Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “This inaugural cohort will be supported not only during the initial fellowship stage, but they will gain the skills and network to achieve their goals beyond the program. We are excited to witness their growth through every stage of their journeys.”
Furthermore, Visible Hands’ first fund features key institutional investors such as Bank of America, and seasoned investors such as Jeffrey Bussgang (Flybridge Capital Partners and HBS), Brad Singer (ValueAct Capital), Corey Thomas (Rapid7), and Robyn Glaser (Kraft Group). Board members and observers of Visible Hands include Samantha Simmons (Director of Strategic Projects at HubSpot) and Greg Gottesman (Co-Founder and Managing Director of Pioneer Square Labs) who jointly chaired Visible Hands’ Selection Advisory Committee.
During the fellowship, the cohort of ~50 selected fellows will receive an initial $25,000 investment to start building their ventures full-time and support finding co-founders and securing customer validation. At the end of the program, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to participate in an Investor Week to pitch their ventures to Visible Hand’s Investment Advisory Committee and potentially earn an additional $175,000 pre-seed investment. Visible Hands will continue to support the entrepreneurs for an additional nine months to help them acquire new customers and secure additional financing.
For more information, visit www.visiblehands.vc.
Chief of Staff
Visible Hands is a pre-seed fund with a 14-week, virtual-first fellowship program that supports overlooked talent in building venture-backed technology startups by providing company-building services and investments. Starting on day zero, Visible Hands resource an annual cohort of ~50 fellows to work full-time to build their startups. Each fellow receives meaningful funding, support with finding a co-founder, and access to an incredible network of advisors, customers, and investors. Check out our manifesto here.