Last week, Andreessen Horowitz’s (a16z) Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF) launched its third fund, CLF III, naming The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) and Pharrell Williams as investors.
A16z says that its Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF) was founded to address gaps in access and equity for Black communities in technology.
In the four years since the first fund was launched, a16z says that CLF has raised more than $60 million and invested into over 300 a16z portfolio companies across industries including consumer, crypto, enterprise, fintech, and healthcare/biotech.
a16z also claims to have introduced over 100 Black cultural leaders to opportunities with new technology companies and that it has contributed more than $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations that are focused specifically on getting more African Americans into technology.
Amongst CLF III’s other investors named by a16z include basketball stars like Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, Maya Moore and Nneka Ogwumike.
Other investors include football stars Patrick Mahomes, Pierre Aubameyang and numerous others, like NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace as well music stars Lionel Richie and Anderson .Paak.
In the press materials announcing the new fund and its investors, a16z says that The Cultural Leadership Fund “was designed as an opportunity to contribute to two major shifts: more Black dollars on the cap tables of the world’s best companies AND Black talent embedded into technology companies at the earliest stages”.
The Cultural Leadership Fund claims to be the first venture capital fund focused exclusively on Black Limited Partners. CLF co-invests in a16z portfolio companies.
“The age of the disengaged celebrity is over. Ownership and community building are at the forefront of our work. It is how we will reach our ultimate goals of getting more young Black talent into tech companies and building wealth for future generations.”
Megan Holston-Alexander, Andreessen Horowitz
In a blog post announcing the new fund, Megan Holston-Alexander a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, notes that: “Since joining a16z and now leading CLF, I’ve seen us go from one fund to three, I’ve seen CLF LPs become some of the savviest, most thoughtful investors I’ve ever come across, and I’ve witnessed multifaceted Black contributions continue to shape and shift cultural norms”.
Added Holston-Alexander: “Our ability to embrace all the tones, facets and locales into the definition of who we are is what makes our community so dynamic and trailblazing — an international soccer player for the most valuable team in the world, a NASCAR driver changing the face of a sport, music legends whose art and influence span generations, the NBA’s defensive player of the year, one of two Black women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies — our investors continue to push boundaries to inspire what’s possible.
“But the age of the disengaged celebrity is over. Ownership and community building are at the forefront of our work. It is how we will reach our ultimate goals of getting more young Black talent into tech companies and building wealth for future generations.”Music Business Worldwide