- CapitalG, a venture firm backed by Alphabet, recently promoted three Black people.
- Hiring a more diverse set of investors improves the flow of capital to Black startup founders.
- “This is not just good to do good — this is good for business,” Jackson Georges, a partner, said.
When Jackson Georges left his job at Google four years ago, he didn’t travel far. His first day in operations at CapitalG, a venture firm that counts Alphabet as its sole investor, was at Google’s campus in Mountain View, California.
So when a portfolio company reached out for advice as it was building out its diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, Georges quickly assembled a team of advisors from Google’s diversity team to parachute in for assistance.
The advisory was such a hit that Georges made it part of CapitalG’s menu of offerings for startups.
“I help the founders we invest in scale their businesses so that they can replicate the scaling lessons from Google and possibly even grow into the next Google — all while trying to make the VC-tech ecosystem a more equitable place,” he said.
This week, Georges made growth partner at CapitalG, becoming one of the rare Black venture partners in the US.
In his new role, Georges, who previously climbed the sales ladder at Google, will oversee the firm’s relationships with all portfolio companies after it invests in them. He will also continue to colead the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts, which include hiring underrepresented investors and providing training to people leaders at its startups.
“Jackson will run through walls for any of our companies,” Johan Duramy, a senior operating partner at CapitalG, said in an email. “The founders we work with know that and consider him to be part of their teams.”
When Alphabet pledged to invest $100 million in Black entrepreneurship, Georges joined a team responsible for allocating those funds across Black-led venture firms, startups, and groups supporting Black founders. He hosts regular trainings on diversity and inclusion for managers at portfolio companies, drawing on Google’s practices.
Georges also sits on the steering committee of Blck VC, a group that provides access and education to aspiring Black angel investors, venture partners, and scouts. In 2020, CapitalG became a financial supporter of the nonprofit.
“Jackson is one degree of separation from anyone,” Duramy said. “He’s so authentic in his ability to build deep and trusted relationships that anyone he knows will do whatever he asks because they know he’d do the same for them. I know I would.”
Georges also said that of the six people who earned recent promotions at CapitalG, three of them are Black, though none write checks to startups. Rather, they work in roles supporting the firm’s operations and investments.
In addition to Georges, Brian Osimiri became an associate general counsel, working on all things legal, and Sadasia McCutchen is now a vice president on the growth team, where she connects executives at startups across the firm’s portfolio.
It’s an open secret that Black entrepreneurs have been shut out of the lion’s share of venture investment. Last year, funding to Black startup founders hit about $4.2 billion, an increase in total dollars over the year before but still hovering at just about 1% of total venture investments, Crunchbase News’ Sophia Kunthara reported.
Still, the combination of a spotlight on Black entrepreneurs amid the racial-justice movement and a rising number of Black investors has now put Black founders in a stronger position to raise new funding. Firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners, GV, and Initialized Capital have added Black investors and lawyers in recent years, while some Black investors like Peter Boyce II splintered off to raise their own funds.
But Georges points out that it’s in the interest of white investors to fund great companies being built by diverse founders.
“There’s a strong correlation between Black investors and the amounts of capital deployed to founders. We’re very aware of that, and we’re doing what we can. But I don’t think it should be on the shoulders of Black investors to make sure this is happening,” Georges said about fixing the racial disparity in how venture dollars are deployed. “I think everyone needs to be aware of this issue and needs to see the opportunity.”