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What Would A Venture Capitalist Say About That? Startups Get A Chance To Find Out

The Miami Herald

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new VC in Residence program will have top venture capitalists spend a month in Miami advising and guiding minority entrepreneurs.

Miami

Access to capital is lacking — that’s a common refrain among Miami area entrepreneurs, and particularly in minority communities. So Derick Pearson and Felecia Hatcher, founders of Code Fever and Blacktech Week, thought let’s bring the venture capitalists here.

At a recent conference Pearson talked Marlon Nichols, co-founder and managing partner at Cross Culture Ventures and former investment director at Intel Capital, into agreeing to be Code Fever and Blacktech Week’s first VC in Residence.

The program, thought to be one of the first of its kind, will have top venture capitalists spend a month in Miami advising and guiding black, Latinx and Caribbean entrepreneurs.

Nichols, who generally splits his time between offices in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, took up residence at WeWork earlier this month and has been holding office hours, fireside chats and lunch and learns that will continue throughout the month to help sharp founders think through the businesses that they are building.

It wasn’t a hard sell and the arrangement is benefiting both sides of the table.

“You can’t beat coming to Miami in April, but more importantly, Miami is rich in culture and our investment thesis is about understanding global culture to try to predict where consumers are going to spend their dollars,” said the Jamaican-born Nichols in an interview last week.

He leads one of the relative few black-led venture capital funds in the U.S. “Black and Latin cultures have been known for early adopters, so for understanding what is going on in those communities as well as the Caribbean community, Miami is a melting pot. For me it is a lot of learning.”

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