Entrepreneurs in the LGBT communityÂ seeking investmentÂ dollars toÂ start or grow their businesses can look to StartOut. It’s capital connections program connects LGBT entrepreneurs with angel investors.
Through networking events, entrepreneurs get to give a brief description and pitch deck to active investors. Those who receive high marks get to meet with angels to discuss their startups more in depth.
StartOut is a networking group of 12,000 members dedicated to assisting LGBT startups, from perfecting pitches and meeting corporate buyers to fostering mentorships, developing growth strategies, and accessing funding. It’s board of advisors includes a number of prominent venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
While there have been substantial gains in representation and visibility in politics, entertainment, journalism, and now even sports, in too many places the corporate closet continues to flourish, StartOut CEO Gene Falk recently told Affinity Inc. “There are virtually no role models in the senior ranks of the business community. Not a single Fortune 500 company is headed by an openly LGBT person and few of them have an openly LGBT board members.”
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In addition to helping LGBT startups the organization is fostering LGBT representation in C-suites and corporate boards, StartOut is focused on ensuring that LGBT employees are on a level playing field in terms of wages and workplace policies.
Falk also points to the need for business startup assistance especially among women entrepreneurs. To that end, StartOut has created the Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring program with established entrepreneurs, investors and senior-level executives.