Pride Month 2020 has been different. Although we’ve still been able to celebrate and affirm the LGBTQ+ people in our lives and across the US, this year’s Pride has also provided stark reminders about the ongoing pandemic and the important—and relevant—history of the movement itself.

At the beginning of the year, the impacts and implications of COVID-19 radiated across the globe, and the so-called “return to normal” that many expected by summer seems less and less likely as the outbreak rages on. As a result, the Pride Month parades, parties and festivities we’ve grown accustomed to over the last 51 years simply did not happen.  

Equally pressing are the worldwide protests and demonstrations against systemic racism in policing and the disproportionate killings of Black people. As many have pointed out, Pride can’t be acknowledged devoid of its history—the LGBTQ+ rights movement began in 1969 when transgender and queer women of color fought on the frontlines against police raids at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

Pride is and always has been a protest. LGBTQ+ people have had an unmeasured impact on the world at large, and the same is true within our industry—the public and private capital markets. To that end, we want to highlight some of the achievements of LGBTQ+ founders, venture capitalists, technologists and innovators—all trailblazers who created space for themselves and others in an industry that largely lacks diverse voices. This list is not exhaustive, and we encourage you to add to the conversation. 

We’re including links to each person’s Twitter page where possible. Additionally, we’ve linked to PitchBook profile previews of the companies and firms these pros are associated with to give you a sense of the types of funding details (and other datasets) available throughout the platform.

LGBTQ+ founders and entrepreneurs 

Alicia Garza
Activist and cofounder 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.
@aliciagarza

Andrew Goetz
Cofounder of MALIN + GOETZ, a luxury skincare and fragrance line of cleansers, moisturizers and shampoos that combines natural ingredients with advanced technology.
@malinandgoetz

Angelica Ross
Founder and CEO of TransTech Social Enterprises, a co-learning and co-working community with a focus on economically empowering trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people and allies with practical, career-ready skills.
@angelicaross

 

Brandy Hoffman
Hoffman, alongside Patricia Santos, cofounded Volition Beauty in 2016, an online platform of beauty lovers, who can share and vote on ideas they’d like to see come to fruition.
@VolitionBeauty

Dan Owens
Founder and Executive Producer of Radimo, a gender-fluid brand house and consulting agency focused on increased representation for marginalized individuals in media, entertainment and advertising.
@danowensmgmt

Gina Trapani
Trapani, an engineer, entrepreneur and writer, is currently a managing partner at Postlight. She is perhaps best known for founding Lifehacker, a blockbuster tech blog acquired by Univision.
@ginatrapani

 

Hayley Sudbury
Founder and CEO of WERKIN, a people analytics platform using behavioural science to promote diversity.
@hayleysudbury

Isabella Giancarlo
In 2018, Giancarlo and Laura Kraber launched Fluide Beauty, a queer, cruelty-free cosmetics brand for people of all gender identities, fighting against the norms of marketing makeup to women only.
@fluidebeauty

Joel Simkhai
Cofounder of Grindr, a social networking app for gay, bisexual, trans and queer people. The company, which was a subsidiary of Beijing Kunlun Tech, was acquired in March 2020 by San Vicente Acquisition for $620 million.
@joelsimkhai

 

Kara Swisher
Cofounder and executive editor of Recode, which was acquired by Vox Media in 2015. Swisher is also host of the Recode Decode podcast and co-executive producer of the Code Conference.
@karaswisher

Leanne Pittsford
Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech, which offers programming and opportunities to give visibility and opportunity to LGBTQ+ women, non-binary and trans individuals in the tech sector.
@lepitts

Martine Rothblatt Ph.D
In the '90s, Rothblatt cofounded Sirius XM Satellite Radio. She is also cofounder and CEO of biotech company United Therapeutics. Her latest venture is Lung Biotechnology, which works to democratize the treatment of lung diseases.

 

Matthew Malin
Cofounder of MALIN + GOETZ, a luxury skincare and fragrance line of cleansers, moisturizers and shampoos that combines natural ingredients with advanced technology.
@malinandgoetz

Peter Arvai
Cofounder and CEO of Prezi, a cloud-based platform intended to reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories and inspire their audiences to act.
@peterarvai

Rachael Rapinoe
Founder of Mendi, a CBD-based health brand for sports recovery. The company offers gummies, salve sticks, massage oils and creams. Rachael’s products are endorsed by her twin sister and world-renowned athlete Megan Rapinoe. @themendico

 

Stephanie Lampkin
A Stanford engineer and MIT MBA, Lampkin cofounded Blendoor, an inclusive recruiting and people analytics software designed to mitigate unconscious bias in hiring.
@stephaneurial

Vivienne Ming
Theoretical neuroscientist and serial entrepreneur, Ming cofounded Socos Labs, an independent think tank experimenting with new versions of work, education and inclusive economies to inform more human-centered policy.
@neuraltheory

 

LGBTQ+ VCs turned entrepreneurs (and vice versa)

 

Arlan Hamilton
Founder and managing partner at Backstage Capital, a VC firm that invests in women, people of color and LGBT founders.
@ArlanWasHere

About Backstage Capital  
In 2015, Arlan Hamilton founded Backstage Capital and built it from the ground up while homeless. The venture capital firm is based in Los Angeles, California and invests in startups whose founders identify as women, People of Color or LGBTQ+.

Since its inception, Backstage Capital has invested over $7 million in more than 130 companies led by underrepresented founders.

See Backstage Capital’s investments

Joe DiPasquale
Cofounder of StartOut, an LGBTQ+ non-profit promoting equality and combatting discrimination in business. He’s also CEO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BitBull Capital.
@JoeDiPasquale 

Lorenzo Thione
Cofounder of StartOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit promoting equality and combatting discrimination in business. He’s also the CEO for the influencer platform The Social Edge.
@thione

Bryan Janeczko
Cofounder of StartOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit promoting equality and combatting discrimination in business. Alongside Kuda Biza, he cofounded Nunbelievable, an organic baked goods brand to help end hunger.
@bjaneczko

 

Darren Spedale
Cofounder of StartOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit promoting equality and combatting discrimination in business. He also cofounded Family by Design, a community for modern co-parenting.
@DarrenSpedale

About StartOut 
Founded in 2009, StartOut is an accelerator with the mission to increase the number, diversity, and impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and amplify their stories to drive the economic empowerment of the community.

In February 2020, with the support of JP Morgan Chase & Co., the firm released The StartOut Pride Economic Impact Index, a groundbreaking research initiative that measures the contributions LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs make to the larger economy and calculates the unrealized potential. 

See StartOut’s investments

Keith Rabois
Rabois currently serves as a General Partner at Founders Fund. In his venture career, he has led investments in DoorDash, Affirm, Stripe and more. He also cofounded Opendoor, a platform for buying and selling homes.
@rabois

Jennifer Pritzker 
Pritzker is an angel investor, philanthropist and founder of private-wealth firm TAWANI Enterprises. She is considered the world's first and only known transgender billionaire.

Pocket Sun
Sun is a venture capitalist and cofounding Partner at SoGal, one of the world’s largest communities of diverse entrepreneurs and investors with 40+ chapters worldwide.
@pocketysun

 

About SoGal Ventures
Cofounded by Pocket Sun and Elizabeth Galbut, SoGal ventures is the first female-led, next generation venture capital firm. It focuses on early-stage diverse founding teams in the US and Asia, and aims to be the strongest ally for its portfolio companies. The firm has made investments in 65+ startups across the world, including Everlywell and SWAAY.

See SoGal Ventures’ investments


Note: 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 and we'd be happy to do so.

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