Fabric VC Founder Laurel Mintz On How Women Are Changing The Fabric Of VC

What do you think of when I say “venture capitalist?” Do images of a Mad Men-style boardroom with leather and whisky come to mind? Or the top floor of a skyscraper with a giant table, white walls, and faces in black wool tailored suits looking at graphs? Or maybe a group of pale, male, and stale finance bros?

You’re not totally wrong. We’ve come a long way, but traditional VCs aren’t keeping up with today’s values and culture. Many of them see changing culture as a risk, and while that may have been true 10 years ago, it’s 2022. Nowadays, not adapting is an even greater risk. Some of the funds that are trying to change are only talking a good game and are lacking in execution. Talking the talk but not walking the walk. We get it, it’s hard to break free from tradition and let go of things you know you like, like those low-rise jeans that have been in your closet since the ‘90s.

Part of the reason why it’s so hard for most funds to change is because of their people. I’m not just talking about culture, though venture firms are 99% made up of traditional finance and investment banking bros. The simple truth is that they aren’t operators which means they don’t holistically understand the companies they’re funding and hoping and praying is their next unicorn. Enter the new venture capitalist generation with places like Fabric VC, Halogen Ventures, Backstage Capital, Cross Culture, and many others and opening doors and tearing down walls. They are the new wave; they are the future.

Fabric VC, for example, understands business owners because they are business owners. They live that life daily. Since they started their agency over a decade ago, they’ve watched countless brilliant business concepts fail because they’re backed by investors who don’t understand them, their needs, and the value and downright necessity of modern marketing strategy to long-term success. And those are the companies that receive funding. Overwhelmingly, those companies tend to be led by white men. Last year, only 2% of VC funds went to female founders, only 1% of funds went to Black business owners, and less than 1% went to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. A report published by Pitchbook revealed that of the over $40 billion of funds raised by venture capital firms, less than 3% of this is allocated to Black- and minority-owned startups. Even more alarming is that this percentage decreases if you fall into more than one minority group. Something has to change…right now!

The team at Fabric VC sees the interconnected thread of the doer and the owner. As a female-led fund with a diverse team of experienced partners and advisors, they are prepared to do what needs to be done. They are ready to put their expertise as operators and investors to work to weave together diverse founders with the long overdue funding that they deserve.

According to a report published by consultancy Bain & Co., it will take 30 years to reach gender equality at the senior management level of finance. It’s imperative, now more than ever, for VC funds to set an example and lead the way in economic justice.

To learn more about the changing world of VCs, I spoke with Laurel Mintz, founder of Fabric VC, and asked her about the current state of accessible funding for minority business owners. Here’s what she had to say:

“To be honest, I have been happy running my marketing agency for the last 13+ years working with incredible fortune 500 brands and startups alike. It wasn’t until one of our venture contacts pulled me aside after a meeting and said, “why the f*** aren’t you just doing this” that I realized, if not me who, if not now, when? It was like I got hit by a bolt of lightning and I couldn’t unsee the future.

At Fabric VC, we know what modern businesses face in the current consumer landscape because we’ve lived it. They are the business owners out there pushing and growing and innovating. With the rise in social media and a more interconnected cultural landscape ideas are moving faster, and changing more quickly than ever before and it’s hard to stay caught up, harder still to lead the way. And that’s where the Fabric Network comes in.

The Fabric Network is a host of companies that are woven together to provide a strong support system for all aspects of a company’s growth. From advice to resources, the Fabric network has had decades of experience growing their own companies and helping others in the network grow.

We have proven experience working with companies and a venture and advisory board that outshines some of the top heritage firms. With 6 IPOs, 10+ exits, and $2B in fundraising, just to mention a few of the team’s superpowers. Maybe the most impressive is how intentionally diverse our team is, led by principal Jawhara Tariq. We know how to spot and develop winners.”

How Marketing Went From a Want to a Need

There was a time when all you needed was a quality product and patience and the customers would come to you. If you build it, they will come. That just isn’t the case anymore, 78% of small businesses fail due to poor business & marketing plans.* Source: U.S. Bank. There are great opportunities out there for small independent companies to get a foot in the door and start up their own business but there is also a lot of noise that you have to cut through in order to reach your customers nowadays and that’s where marketing comes in.

Fabric VC’s partnership with award-winning marketing company Elevate My Brand, the podcast network, and a team of highly skilled marketing technicians means that Fabric has a vested interest in influencing outcomes to help their portfolio companies cut through the noise and reach their people no matter the medium, no matter the channel.

How Fabric Breaks Down the Barriers to Accessing Funding

Fabric is focused on evening out the playing field. For far too long access to investment opportunities has been limited or denied to too many. Our goal is to change that by weaving together diverse founders with the funding and support they need and deserve.

We believe that companies should lead by example, they should be focused on diversity and inclusion and giving a voice to the overlooked, ignored and underestimated. We believe that diverse companies who in the past haven’t gotten the chance to shine are the future. Those are the companies and founders who can change the world for the better and Fabric will fund, guide and grow these nascent brands into successful companies that will lead the way for change.

For more information and to get involved contact [email protected]

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