Meet the summer 2021 PRISM cohort

Firms like Backstage Capital have cited that as little as 10% of venture capital deals go to women, people of color, and LGBTQ founders. Today, sexism, racism, and homophobia — and unconscious bias — continue to disadvantage many entrepreneurs, particularly when it comes to crucial early-stage financing. For members of the LGBTQ community, is it a good idea to come out while raising capital?

According to a recent study from StartOut, a nonprofit serving LGBTQ entrepreneurs and businesses, 37% of LGBTQ founders choose to remain closeted while raising capital. Though evidence suggests that investors value openness as part of a healthy relationship, for some LGBTQ+ founders, staying closeted increases their odds.

Companies in states and cities with anti-LGBT policies, as well as those founded by LBT women, are at a greater disadvantage, the study found. Among study participants, LGBT founders are more than twice as likely as their non-LGBT counterparts to move their companies to accept states like California, New York, and Massachusetts. Seventy percent of LBT women raise less than $750,000 of outside capital, while 47% of GBT men raise at least $2 million.

At Dorm Room Fund, we want to create a safe space for investors to meet queer venture capitalists. We want student participants, whether they came out of their closet or remain closeted, to find a shared experience with top-notch founders.

Below, meet the inaugural 2021 prism cohort.

Adrian Hackney

Arjan Guglani

Austin Mejia

Ayaz Karimov

Chia Amisola

Fiodor Otero

Jyotsna Jayaraman

Lorelei Yang

Raaghav Goel

Ushna Arshad Khan

For privacy reasons, some participants in the 2021 PRISM cohort have not been included in the announcement.

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This article first appeared on the DRF blog.

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