Mergers & Acquisitions names 2021 Top 25 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A, including Portfolia’s Lorine Pendleton.
Describe a recent accomplishment.
In October 2019, I started fundraising for the Portfolia Rising America Fund, which invests in early-stage and growth companies in the U.S., where people of color and LGBTQ investors see opportunity for returns and market impact. Our team was off to great traction in early 2020 and then Covid hit. Our fundraising came to a complete halt. At the time we thought we launched our fund at the worst possible time. As the year progressed, 2020 became a trifecta of events with the pandemic, economic strife impacting many, and the social justice/Black Lives Matter movement. We commenced fundraising again in late Spring. Our fund investing in diverse-led companies took on even more importance as a spotlight was shed on what we were doing because of the large funding disparity existing for Black and other diverse founders. We leveraged this watershed moment to engage our network and reached out to potential investors who were interested in deploying their capital in an impactful way to support diverse fund managers and diverse entrepreneurs.
How are you a champion of inclusion and equality?
In marketing the Rising America Fund, I champion the need for change in the VC industry and highlight the funding disparity for diverse founders, specifically Blacks and Latinx. Talent is equally distributed, but the opportunity is not. Many diverse founders are incredibly talented, but they lack the network or social capital that leads to financial capital and opportunities to launch and grow their companies. A recent report estimated the economic losses attributed to racial inequality in the U.S. faced by Blacks in the past two decades was $16 trillion in lost GDP. Many would have benefited if this money had flowed into our economy.