(Washington, DC) – During the first inaugural White House Demo Day, impact investors Mitch Kapor & Freada Kapor Klein announced that the Kapor family of organizations — Kapor Capital, the Kapor Center for Social Impact & Level Playing Field Institute – will invest $40 million dollars over three years in initiatives to accelerate their life’s work of making tech entrepreneurship more inclusive.
“Genius is evenly distributed across zipcodes. Access and opportunity are not,” stated Mitch Kapor, who, along with Freada Kapor Klein has been on the leading edge of efforts to break down barriers to success in Silicon Valley and the broader tech community. “With this investment we’re doubling down on tech diversity because it’s good for individuals, communities and the economy as a whole.”
To address both the pipeline problem and the leaky pipeline problem for African Americans, Latina/os and all women in tech, the investment will take a comprehensive approach, supporting three interrelated pillars: access to tech education, access to capital and strong community institutions.
In a boost to tech education, the Level Playing Field Institute will invest $6 million to scale and expand the SMASH (Summer Math and Science Honors) Academy, a rigorous five-week summer STEM program that matches underrepresented students with the academic and technical training, resources, role models, and connections they need to pursue their dreams. SMASH has just completed its twelfth summer and is currently on four California campuses.
To increase diverse tech entrepreneurship, over the next three years Kapor Capital will make over $25 million in direct investments in technology startups working to narrow the achievement gaps. At least half of the companies we invest in will have founders from historically underrepresented communities.
Finally, the Kapor Center for Social Impact will commit $3 million a year to promoting a more diverse tech ecosystem where our team lives and works, the Bay Area. The organization’s new building, opening this winter in Oakland’s Uptown district, will be a hub for building the startup ecosystem of gap-closing companies, mentoring and networking for underrepresented entrepreneurs, community education, student hackathons, and convenings that leverage the under tapped genius in our backyard.
“Had industry leaders committed to diversity and inclusion a decade ago, imagine how tech would look today,” stated Freada Kapor Klein, Founder of the Level Playing Field Institute and Partner at Kapor Capital. “We believe that our $40 million commitment will be a catalyst for others in the tech world to match, so that a decade from now tech will look more like America.”