FWD: A Letter from our founder

In 2016 I started VentureFWD with my former partners with the intention to break down barriers in seeking investment capital for women and minorities. We hosted an incredible summit together on September 23, 2016, with over 280 attendees, 48 speakers, and 37 investors connected with entrepreneurs on-site for 1-on-1 meetings.  As we turned the corner into 2017, I took a step out on my own, bought out my partners and expanded the conference to San Francisco March 11, 2017. Entering into a new, crowded market, we were honored to host over 110 attendees, 31 speakers, with 12 investors in attendance.

A few incredible things that happened at our first two events:

  • Genevieve Thiers met Ellie Bahrmasel and started the RISE Movement, now known as New Founders. 
  • Desmond Clark (Former Chicago Bear) shared with us his '6 Principles of Winning' and won himself by connecting with Manuel Amezcua at FWD. From there they began their journey of creating One Life Advisory.

    Jotaka Eaddy dove into the intersection of Tech & Politics on stage in SF. She resonated with our mission so much so that she has partnered with us to help expand the event, community, and mission to D.C.

    We connected with over 1/2 million people digitally through our live broadcasts, interviews, and amazing partnership with Entrepreneur.

    Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon preached about the most underrated secret to success...effective communication and left us with our most tweeted quote while we were trending on Twitter, "it's ok to have a knock-off bag, but don't be a knock-off person."
    AND Shaherose Charania shared with us the statistic from company's on Republic's platform that still has us with our hands up in excitement "80% of successfully funded founders are female."

    We started to see the bigger picture.

    With those amazing nuggets and a few staggering statistics in mind:

    There are fewer Fortune 500 CEOs who are women (4.1%) than who are named David (4.5%) or John (5.3%)

    41% of managers say they are "too busy" to implement diversity initiatives

    83% of venture-backed founders have a racial composition that is entirely Caucasian

    Only 5% of all Fortune 500 companies have African American CEOs

    I realized that although diversity and inclusion in the investment space are critical, we have a lot of work to do to in terms of overall professional inclusion first, and with that VentureFWD expanded to the FWD Collective. FWD Collective is a community dedicated to professional inclusion hosting summits internationally created by and for the ever-growing populations of diverse entrepreneurs. Our summits will continue to feature women, P.O.C., and underrepresented communities focusing on connecting emerging entrepreneurs with established business professionals.  Our discussions have expanded from a focus solely on venture capital to include business development, sharing your story, building teams, and beyond.

    We know this is important for many reasons, but here are a few that continue to stand out:
    Ethnically diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%
    Teams where men and women are equal earn 41% more revenue
    Companies reporting highest levels of racial diversity in their organizations bring in nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with lowest levels of racial diversity

    We'd love for you to join us and be part of our community, conversation, and collective.

    With gratitude,






    See a few of our past event sessions here

    • Shaeherose Charania 

      Advisor Republic.co | Board Member Women2.0 |Product & Brand 23 - Design Services

      Facebook LIVE -

      Tools for a values-driven startup: Human-centric tools for building your product and getting funding at VentureFWD San Francisco 2017

    • Jotaka Eaddy

      Head of Government Affairs at LendUp

      Facebook LIVE - 

      The Intersection of Tech & Politics at VentureFWD San Francisco 2017


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