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54 LGBTQ+ founders and investors you should know

This list highlights 54 LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and innovators working across the capital market landscape.

The percentage of US adults who identify as LGBTQ+ has doubled in the last decade, reaching 7.6% in 2023. If current trends continue, Gallup predicts that the proportion of LGBTQ+ adults will exceed 10% within the next three decades. Despite this, LA-based VC firm Backstage Capital estimates that LGBTQ+ founders still receive less than 1% of venture capital funding—a stagnant and staggeringly low figure.

Our 2024 list of LGBTQ+ founders and investors represents a fraction of the trailblazers who work in the capital markets, creating space for themselves and others in an environment that can lack diverse voices and perspectives. Within this list, we’ve included links to each person’s most-used social profile(s), and whenever possible, we’ve linked to PitchBook profile previews of the companies and firms each person is associated with.

This is a community-generated list, as PitchBook does not track the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of founders or investors. To learn more about how we put this list together or to submit a name for consideration for our next update, scroll to the end of the article.

LGBTQ+ founders and entrepreneurs

Alicia Garza headshot Alicia Garza
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Principal of Black Futures Lab, an Oakland-based think tank that works to transform Black communities into constituencies that wield independent political power at the municipal, state, and federal level. Garza is also the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, a globally recognized organizing project that focuses on combating anti-Black state-sanctioned violence and the oppression of all Black people.
Amy Errett headshot Amy Errett
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Founder and CEO of Madison Reed, an ammonia-free at-home hair color company. Errett is also an investor at True Ventures focusing on consumer and e-commerce startups.  
Traci Keen headshot Traci Keen
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CEO of Mate Fertility, a fertility clinic that provides in-person services in several US states and via telemedicine for those seeking fertility treatments, therapies, and end-to-end fertility services.  
Angelica Ross headshot Angelica Ross
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President of Miss Ross, Inc., a film, television, music, and audio production company, as well as host of the N.O.W. podcast. Former founding executive director CEO of the nonprofit TransTech Social Enterprises.  
Brandy Hoffman headshot Brandy Hoffman
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President and COO of Matice Biosciences, the developer of skin-regeneration techniques that repair skin. Hoffman previously founded and was the COO of Volition Beauty, an online platform that empowers users to help create the products they'd like to see.  
McKensie Mack headshot Bunny McKensie Mack
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Chief Purpose Officer of MMG Earth, a global research and change management firm that centers the principles of racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, transformative accountability, and justice.  
Matthieu Jost headshot Matthieu Jost
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Founder of Paris-based misterb&b, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ travel community—where a million LGBTQ+ travelers have been able to find housing safely, connect with locals to get safety tips, and create and plan activities together.  
Rachel Tipograph headshot Rachel Tipograph
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Founder and CEO of MikMak, a global platform that provides analytics and ecommerce enablement software to help product manufacturers and CPG companies understand their customers' online behavior, allocate marketing budget, and drive sales. Tipograph is also an angel investor, as well as an investor at both Harlem Capital and Cleo Capital. She co-hosts the BRAVE COMMERCE podcast, tackling what’s relevant in ecommerce today for the world’s biggest brands.  
Peter Arvai headshot Peter Arvai
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Executive chair and co-founder of Prezi, a cloud-based presentation software company reinventing how people share knowledge virtually.  
Emma Mcilroy headshot Emma Mcilroy
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CEO and founder of Wildfang, a Portland-based apparel marketplace that offers clothing for all genders and body types.  
Fran Dunaway headshot Fran Dunaway
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Co-founder and president, along with Naomi Gonzalez, of TomboyX, a gender-neutral underwear and apparel brand headquartered in Seattle.  
Sheena Lister headshot Sheena Lister
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Founder and CEO of The Barb Shop, a Bay Area-based startup that creates high-performance styling products and community for short hair.
Haily Marzullo headshot Haily Marzullo
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Founder and CEO of Humankind, a line of mix-and-match, gender-inclusive swimwear and active wear built for comfort and style.  
Hayley Sudbury headshot Hayley Sudbury
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Founder and CEO of WERKIN, a people analytics platform using behavioral science to promote diversity through modern mentoring, coaching, and training.  
Christor Holloman headshot Christer Holloman
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Founder of sustainable finance platform, Credential.inc—which he started after moving to the US in 2022. Previously, Holloman co-founded and was an advisor at Dividio and launched Glassdoor in the EMEA region. Additionally, Holloman has made 40+ investments as an angel in syndicates, including providing capital to Qomodo, Gilion, and SuperFi. Hollman founded Oxford Pride, the University of Oxford LGBTQ+ alumni network.
Jake Bullock headshot Jake Bullock
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Co-founder of Cann, a line of gluten-free, vegan THC-infused beverages that aim to reshape social drinking.  
Jess Page headshot Jess Page
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Co-founder and chief brand officer of Open Water, a company that sells still and sparkling water in 100% recyclable refillable aluminum water bottles and cans to curb plastic use.  
Kelly Rakowski headshot Kel Rakowski
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Founder and CEO of Lex, a social app that connects the queer community members looking to meet new friends, build relationships, and have fun.  
Vivienne Ming headshot Vivienne Ming
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Founder and CEO of Socos Labs, a think tank experimenting with new versions of work, education, and inclusive economies to inform more human-centered policy. Ming is also chief scientist at Dionysus Digital Health and The Human Trust, as well as the Chair of the Advisory Board at UC Berkeley’s Neurotech Collider Lab

Leanne Pittsford headshot Leanne Pittsford
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Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech, the largest LGBTQ community of technologists in the world with 100,000 members from 40+ global cities. Lesbians Who Tech's San Francisco Summit is the largest professional LGBTQ event in the world, and their programmatic work includes a coding scholarship, mentoring program, and a leadership program for nonbinary people and LGBTQ women in tech.
Paola Fernandez headshot Paola Fernandez
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Founder and CEO of High Hemp, the first all-organic herbal wrap company based in Orlando. Prior to High Hemp, Fernandez worked at her father's tobacco company for seven years, cultivating a breadth of knowledge and experience she draws on today.  
Nicole Doucet headshot Nicole Doucet
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CEO and co-founder of Open Water, which became the world's first climate-neutral bottled water company and has eliminated the need for over 20 million plastic bottles.  
Maya Satya Reddy headshot Maya Satya Reddy
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Former pro golfer and founder of Queer Asian Social Club, a community that increases the visibility of queer and trans-APISWAD (Asian-Pacific Islander-Southwest Asian-Desi) people.  
Michelle Kim headshot Michelle MiJung Kim
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CEO and co-founder of Awaken, a startup offering workshops and trainings on authenticity, social justice, and inclusive leadership to transform the way people show up and thrive.  

Scott Lewallen headshot Scott Lewallen
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Co-founder of Grindr, alongside Joel Simkhai, a social networking app for gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people. Lewallen is also an accomplished artist based in Los Angeles and CEO of Mezic Media.  
Stephanie (Lampkin) VanPutten headshot Stephanie (Lampkin) VanPutten
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Founder and executive director of Visible Figures, a platform and global network for high-achieving Black women and non-binary founders, investors, inventors, artists, and more. Van Putten is also on the member board of trustees at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and CEO of SVP & Co.   
Damian Pelliccione headshot Damian Pelliccione
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CEO and co-founder, alongside Alia J. Daniels and Christopher J. Rodriguez, of Revry, a global LGBTQ+ streaming media network that champions diversity and inclusion in media and entertainment through live TV, movies, series, news, and exclusive originals. Pelliccione is also the co-founder of QueerX, a one-of-a-kind festival designed to recognize the world of brilliant digital content created by and for the global queer community.
Suki Sandhu headshot Suki Sandhu
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Founder and CEO of Audeliss, a London-based executive search firm dedicated to leveling the playing field for women, ethnically diverse, and LGBTQ+ candidates.  
Lundy Ramos headshot Lundy Ramos
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Founder and CEO of Khesed Wellness, an affordable practice and business management software for mental health therapists.  
Justin Ayars headshot Justin Ayars
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Founder and CEO of equalityMD, a Richmond, Virginia-based company providing access to affordable, affirming, and trusted healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community.  
Kylo Freeman headshot Kylo Freeman
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Founder and CEO of For Them, a trans-owned clothing company whose products function as direct links to queer wellness. Freeman is also a venture partner at Resolute Ventures, a San Francisco-based firm that leads pre-seed and seed stage rounds.  
Hernan Lopez headshot Hernan Lopez
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Founder of Owl & Co, a management consulting firm servicing media, tech, and the attention economy. Lopez also founded the Hernan Lopez Family Foundation in 2020 to advance diversity in leadership and is currently serves on the board of StartOut. Previously, he co-founded digital art display company Danvas, as well as founded the podcast network Wondery, which was later sold to Amazon.
Tara Hamilton-Whitaker headshot Tara Hamilton-Whitaker
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CEO of Inquisitive, a London-based edtech company that creates ultra-immersive learning subscriptions for all ages.  
Noah Jay Hendricks headshot Noah Jay Hendricks
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Founder and CMO of SyncMatters, a full-service data agency for custom integrations and CRM implementations headquartered in Austin, Texas.  

LGBTQ+ investors and venture capitalists

Ben Stokes headshot Ben Stokes
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Founding partner at Chasing Rainbows, a VC firm that invests in pre-seed tech companies led by LGBTQ+ founders, as well as Black and female founders. Stokes is also the co-chair of the StartOut Programming Board and a board member at the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute.

About Chasing Rainbows
Headquartered in San Francisco and founded in 2021, Chasing Rainbows seeks to level the funding playing field for founders who often don't have access to funding networks. For LGBTQ+ founders, the firm intends to serve as the “friends and family round [those founders] often miss out on due to familial ostracization or bias—conscious or not—from traditional funding communities.” Most recently, Chasing Rainbows invested in Reliabl and Tômtex.

See Chasing Rainbows' investments

Kelly O'onnell headshot Kelly O'Connell
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Managing partner at 360 Venture Collective, a woman-founded and led venture firm that funds and accelerates pre-seed and seed-stage US companies led by women and LGBTQ+ founders.  
Jackson Block headshot Jackson Block
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Co-founder of LGBT+VC, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ prosperity through venture capital.  
Melissa Bradley headshot Melissa Bradley
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Founder and managing partner at 1863 Ventures, , as well as a board member at Eat the Change and the Nathan Cummings Institute and advisory council member at the Small Business Administration’s Investment Capital Advisory Committee (ICAC). Bradley is a professor of practice at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and the co-founder of Ureeka (acquired by ZenBusiness in 2022).

About 1863 Ventures
Headquartered in Washington, DC, 1863 Ventures is a Black-led national business development nonprofit accelerator and venture capital fund for underrepresented founders. The organization supports more than 3,200 entrepreneurs across the US, leveraging capital investments, owned curricula, grant funding, and more.

See 1863 Ventures’ investments

B. Pagels-Minor headshot B. Pagels-Minor
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Founder of DVRGNT Ventures, an Los Angeles-based VC firm that makes strategic investments to support startups based in the Midwest, Mountain West, and Southern regions of the US. Pagels-Minor is also a fellow at San Francisco’s Recast Capital.  
Til Klein headshot Til Klein
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Founding partner of Berlin-based Identity Ventures, a pioneering VC fund that invests in early-stage LGBTQ+ led tech startups across the EU, UK, and US.  
Arlan Hamilton headshot Arlan Hamilton
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Founder and managing partner at Backstage Capital, a VC firm that invests in women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ founders. Hamilton is also the founder of HireRunner.com, a startup that connects employee talent with inclusive companies.

About Backstage Capital
In 2015, Arlan Hamilton founded Backstage Capital—building it from the ground up while homeless. The Los Angeles-based VC firm has invested millions of dollars in more than 200 companies led by underrepresented founders, including EdLight, CloudNine AI, and Hello Alice.

See Backstage Capital's investments

David Beatty headshot David Beatty
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Founder of Gaingels, a Vermont-based VC firm that was founded in 2014 and that invests in companies that embrace LGBT leadership, diversity, and inclusion.  
Jason Mackey headshot Jason Mackey
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Co-founder and general partner at Athenian VC, a firm focused on identifying and supporting exceptional AI startups that are revolutionizing how we live, work, and interact with the world around us.  
Lorenzo Thione headshot Lorenzo Thione
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Co-founder and chairman emeritus at StartOut, as well as managing director at Gaingels and managing partner at theatrical and film production company Sing Out, Louise! Productions.

About StartOut
StartOut is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that accelerates the growth of the LGBTQ+ community to drive economic empowerment and build a world where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has equal access to lead, succeed, and shape the workforce of the future.

Densil Porteous headshot Densil Porteous
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Chief executive officer at Pride VC, a Columbus, Ohio-based venture capital firm that empowers the LGBTQ+ community. Porteous is also the executive director of Stonewall Columbus, Inc.  
Amy Siskind headshot Amy Siskind
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Founder and general partner at Causeway Investments, a New York-based firm that provides liquidity in the venture capital secondary market. Siskind is also the founder of Venture Out Partnership, a nonprofit founded in 2023 to promote opportunity, visibility, and support for the LGBTQ+ VC community.  
Nitin Rai headshot Nitin Rai
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Founder and managing partner of Elevate Capital, an Oregon-based VC that supports and mentors underrepresented entrepreneurs.

About Elevate Capital
Launched in 2016, Elevate Capital is one of the first institutional inclusive venture funds in the US. It includes three funds—Capital Fund I, Capital Fund II, and an Inclusive Fund, a pre-seed and seed-stage fund that invests in diverse and underserved entrepreneurs nationwide. More than 62% of Elevate Capital Fund II investments are in women, 67% in founders of color, and 10% in LGBTQ+ founders.

See Elevate Capital's investments

Natalia Oberti Noguera Natalia Oberti Noguera
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Founder and CEO of Pipeline Angels, a group of angel investors who serve as the friends and family round for entrepreneurs—particularly trans and cis women, agender, gender non-confirming, nonbinary, and two-spirit founders.  
Patrick Driscoll headshot Patrick Driscoll
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General partner at Chasing Rainbows, working alongside Ben Stokes, where he leads manages LP relationships and sources early-stage LGBTQ-led companies across sectors.  
Pocket Sun headshot Pocket Sun
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Co-founder and managing partner of SoGal Ventures, one of the world's largest communities of diverse entrepreneurs and investors with 50+ chapters across six continents. Sun is also the co-president of the SoGal Foundation’s Board of Directors, as well as on the boards of Eterneva, indē wild, and ZZ Driggs.

About SoGal Ventures
Co-founded by Sun and Elizabeth Galbut, SoGal Ventures is a women-led, next-generation venture capital firm. It focuses on early-stage diverse founding teams in the US and Asia, and it aims to be the strongest ally for its portfolio companies. The firm has invested in dozens of startups, including Everly Health, Lovevery, Function of Beauty, and Zeera.

See SoGal Ventures' investments

Robert D’Annibale headshot Robert D’Annibale
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Angel investor at Gaingels, as well as the head of corporate strategy and development at Forge Health and HERhealthEQ board member.  
Abbie Strabala headshot Abbie Strabala
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Investment associate at True Wealth Ventures, a San Francisco-based VC company that invests in early-stage, women-led companies. Strabala is also the co-founder of Queer VC, a networking group.  
Dan Preiss headshot Dan Preiss
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Principal of Ardent Venture Partners, a Washington, DC-based venture capital firm that invests in tech startups. Previously, Preiss was a principal at Boston Consulting Group in their corporate VC practice where he advised companies on product and innovation strategy. Before that, he was a founder and held product and growth roles at VC-backed SaaS and consumer startups in Washington, DC and San Francisco.

About Ardent Venture Partners
Founded in 2020, Ardent Venture Partners invests in US-based AI-native applications, vertical SaaS, and B2B fintech startups. The firm invests in pre-seed to Series A rounds, providing capital in the $250,000 to $3 million range. Most recently, Ardent Venture Partners has invested in PilotDesk, Roe AI, and Rainforest.

Marina Hadjipateras headshot Marina Hadjipateras
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Co-founder and general partner of New York City’s TMV, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in founders who are reimagining the future.  

About PitchBook’s LGBTQ+ founders and investors to know list

The PitchBook Platform does not track data related to the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of founders or investors operating within the capital market ecosystem. Therefore, when this article was originally published in 2020, the LGBTQ+ founders and investors highlighted were sourced through an online research process.

Shortly thereafter, PitchBook blog readers began proactively reaching out to suggest themselves or someone in their network for inclusion. By 2022 and continuing through present, all new additions to this list are sourced from our community of readers. We invite your suggestions, too!

How to suggest an LGBTQ+ founder or investor for this article

To submit a LGBTQ+ founder or investor’s name for the next update of this post, please email [email protected] and include the following details:

  • The person’s name
  • The person’s title
  • The name of their company or firm
  • Links to their most-leveraged social media profile(s)

We are thankful for the number of submissions we receive for this list—typically dozens per year. Though we are unable to feature every person whose name is submitted, we appreciate every person who takes the time to reach out on behalf of themselves or a founder or investor in their network.

How often is this blog post updated?

Though you’re welcome to suggest an LGBTQ+ founder or investor for this article anytime, we update this post once annually each June. As part of its yearly update, we add roughly 10-20 new names to this list—a mix of founders and investors—on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that with each annual update, some of the founders and investors highlighted in the previous year’s version of the list are omitted to keep the list fresh and create room to highlight a new slate of professionals from across the industry.

To reiterate, PitchBook does not track the sexual orientation or gender identity or expression of founders or investors; therefore, this annual re-verification process does not involve the same quality assurance (QA) operation that our platform data does. Though we try to be thorough, this article gets longer each year. Don’t hesitate to reach out of you notice outdated information about a founder or investor featured in this article.

About the links in this list

Many links included within this article point to PitchBook profile previews. PitchBook’s profile previews provide a glimpse of the types of data and insights our customers can access with their subscription to the platform—from funding details and active investments to investors with a stated preference in minority- and women-owned businesses.

Learn more about PitchBook’s data coverage

Take a closer look at the data PitchBook tracks, including investors, professionals, companies, and deals across the public and private capital markets. Request a free trial. Already a PitchBook client? Log in.

All images were sourced from LinkedIn and Google. PitchBook does not own the rights to any of the images used in this post. If you’d like to have a photo removed, please contact us at [email protected].