- All Raise, a Bay Area-based nonprofit trying to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, announced several big hires on Wednesday.
- Domonique Fines, the former architect of Y Combinator’s legendary Demo Day, is All Raises’s new director of engagement and Alicia Burt, Jack Dorsey’s former chief of staff at Square, is chief of staff.
- All Raise CEO Pam Kostka joined the organization as its first outside CEO in April with the goal of remaking the nonprofit similarly to any one of the startups or venture firms from which its 38 founders hail.
- The two-year-old organization is also opening two new chapters in Boston and Los Angeles. According to Kostka, All Raise now covers 70% of the market for venture investing.
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The Bay Area non-profit was formed by 38 former venture capital investors, CEOs, founders, and other tech industry heavyweights in 2017 at the height of the Me Too movement to bridge the funding gap between the white males running many tech companies in Silicon Valley and everyone else. Two years in, the organization is making key hires to cement its place at the forefront of diversity and inclusion in venture funding.
On Wednesday, All Raise announced five key hires to join its two-person full-time staff. Among the hires is Domonique Fines, the former architect of Y Combinator’s legendary Demo Day, as director of engagement, and Alicia Burt, Jack Dorsey’s former chief of staff at Square, as chief of staff for All Raise CEO Pam Kostka.
“We are in a position to take this spark [the founders] ignited and grow it into a firestorm,” Kostka told Business Insider.
Kostka joined as the organization’s first outside CEO in April after two decades leading technology companies in Silicon Valley. Six months in, Kostka wants to remake the organization in Silicon Valley’s image, without all the diversity and inclusion baggage that comes with some of the tech industry’s hottest startups.
“We are a startup nonprofit,” Kostka said. “I come from a traditionally for-profit background, so the pace at which nonprofits move was frustrating to me. The fun and challenge of All Raise is redefining how nonprofits operate.”
All Raise provides educational materials, bootcamps, and mentorships to underrepresented founders and investors, Kostka said, with the end goal of diversifying wealth creation among both groups. Although diversity has become a hot issue in Silicon Valley, studies have found that female founders receive a paltry 2% of venture funding even as diversity initiatives have become more widely accepted.
“The market is just ready for it. Women are ready for it. Even men are ready for it,” Kostka said. “That’s probably one of the best surprises for me is the male allies that are committed to making a difference on both sides by stepping forward not just monetarily but actions and undertaking initiatives to help us grow has been surprising and welcoming.”
Part of All Raise’s plan to close that gap is to continue growing, Kostka explained. And on Wednesday the organization announced two new official chapters in Boston and Los Angeles. In addition to its New York and Bay Area locations, All Raise is present in the top markets were 70% of venture capital is deployed, Kostka said.
“Entrepreneurship is not meant to be easy, but we’ve made it ten times harder for women so our goal is to tear down the barriers,” Kostka said.