Harry's a 4x founder and is currently managing Washington, DC-based humble ventures--a venture catalyst cooperative that serves as the bridge between startups, investors, and established organizations. He also has experience in professional lacrosse.
What drives you in this business?
Creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for underrepresented founders drives me everyday. Only 1% of VC-backed startups are Black. 87% of VC-backed founders are White.
Charles Hudson, Precursor Ventures, said it best, "The fastest, simplest way to change the composition of the tech industry is to change who gets to make funding and hiring decisions," Hudson said in an interview with USA TODAY. "I think we have ample evidence as to what the status quo produces and I don't expect significant change in outcomes until we have a more diverse set of leaders in positions of influence and authority."
What is your greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge is articulating our vision to different stakeholders.
We focus on the underserved entrepreneurial communities of veteran, woman, and minority-run founders & startups. We don’t take equity, charge or require in-person residency for the whole program - we fund operations through grants and look for investment opportunities at the end of the cohort for our syndicate.
Some stakeholders (startups, partners, sponsors, etc…) will understand immediately what we do and who we serve while others need to hear certain buzzwords like accelerator or VC firm. Sometimes I'll have to curate our vision to various individuals and organizations. Communicating what we do couldn't be more important.
How do you cope with the unknown?
I cope with the unknown by immersing myself in it every single day.
I recently read a great line which I'll paraphrase, "Children are only afraid of the dark until they spend enough time in the dark to realize monsters don't exist."
How will you know what you're truly able to become unless you first try. Sometimes showing up is the hardest part.
Thanks for taking the time to talk, Harry, and I look forward to catching up with you again soon!
For my readers, if you have an interest in participating in a Q&A to tell your story, reach out to me on Twitter @scottjancy.