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8 Start-Up Funding Sources for LGBTQA+ Entrepreneurs

lgbtq startup funds

The start-up space is difficult. It’s a long, tiring process from the  initial business idea to making it a reality, with a number of challenges along the way.

Before you get your business off the ground (and leave space to grow), you need to raise necessary funds including venture capital and operational working capital funding – and this is one area of business where gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer entrepreneurs struggle more than their heterosexual counterparts as some traditional loans aren’t always an option to LGBT business owners.

Progress towards diversity in entrepreneur funding is happening, but there is more that needs to be done. If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, and are looking for funding opportunities, here are eight places that can get you started.

LGBT Capital

Established in 2010, LGBT Capital focuses on the LGBT consumer segment and hopes to demonstrate business cases for advancements in LGBT equality and inclusion.

LGBT Capital pioneered the development for an LGBT Diversity Investment Index and also launched the first international specialist LGBT Wealth Management with an LGBT focused Property Portal.

The company believes in the power of impact investing and how it can support LGBT freedoms and inclusion globally.

Backstage Capital

Did you know less than 10 percent of all venture capital deals go to women, people of color, and LGBT founders? Some VCs see this as a pipeline problem, but Backstage Capital sees it as the biggest investment opportunity.

The firm has invested more than US$4M+ in over 80 companies led by underrepresented founders. Furthermore, Backstage Capital is backed by Anthemis Group which is dedicated to diversity.

Pipeline Angels Funding

Is your business model socially responsible? Then Pipeline Angels Funding may be the place for you.

Business owners can pitch to a network of women investors through pitch summits several times a year. To be eligible, businesses must be for-profit and headed by a cis female, non-binary femme, or transgender woman.

Pipeline Angels members will serve as the friends and family of entrepreneurs without the support at the critical start-up stage.

AngelList – LGBT Market

US website AngelList is specifically for start-ups, angel investors, and jobseekers hoping to work at start-ups.

Created in 2010, the platform’s mission is to democratize the investment process and help start-ups with talent and any fundraising challenges.

Companies listed on the LGBT Market on AngelList include HER and Hornet alongside 150 other LGBT entrepreneur-owned businesses. If you’re looking to gain exposure from angel investors, this would be a great place to start. 

Unconventional Ventures (UV)

Nordic early-stage investment firm Unconventional Ventures invests in scalable tech startups at the pre-seed/seed stage founded by women, LGBTQ, people of color, and immigrants targeting global market opportunities.

UV says these founders offer unexplored market opportunities as underrepresented founders build companies solving problems often underestimated or overlooked. UV also thinks strong, diverse founding teams are better at iterating and exploring – something successful startups need.

Gaingels

Gaingels is a profit-focused, mission-based affinity organization offering venture-stage investment opportunities into companies across the world with at least one LGBT founder, senior C-level executive, or board member.

The company invests directly in venture funds, accelerator partners, and charity partnerships – including Gaingels’ very own scholarship and mentoring program.

500 Startups – LGBTQ SYNDICATE

500 Startups keeps diversity at the heart of its values.

Its mission is to discover and back talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems.

The company says LGBT founders, mentors and investors are a huge part of what makes the #500Strong family great, and in 2014, the company launched Rainbow Round to do more community outreach and highlight great entrepreneurs. 

Wells Fargo

Small business lender Wells Fargo is dedicated to supporting the business needs of LGBT entrepreneurs.

Wells Fargo is a founding corporate partner of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and supports LGBT inclusion with their LGBT clients and employees. As an employer, Wells Fargo fosters a culture in which all people and their individual differences are not only accepted but celebrated.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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