October 25, 2023

Black-Led Wellington Access Ventures Secures $150M To Champion Underrepresented Founders

Jackson Cummings

Wellington Access Ventures (WAV) has raised $150 million for its debut, with the backing of limited partners, including state pension plans and banks.

Led by four Black investors, WAV seeks to become a go-to investor for early-stage founders from underrepresented backgrounds.

Wellington Access Ventures

Founded in 2021, Wellington Access Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Wellington Management, based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Investors include the fund’s leaders, Jackson Cummings, Frederik Groce, Van Jones, and Sasha McKenzie.

All four investors were involved in some capacity in BLCK VC, the non-profit for Black startup investors.

All four were Wellington’s top choices for each role, Carmen claimed, with partners from across Wellington also committing $50 million of their own capital to back WAV. 

The fund seeks to invest in the consumer, financial, healthcare, and information technology sectors.

$150M For Overlooked Founders

Based across the country, the four partners will invest in early-stage rounds from the seed to Series A stages.

They will focus on startups led by founders whose race, gender, ethnicity, or background don’t fit the typical tech ecosystem tropes.

“We feel really strongly that talent is universal, but opportunities and capital have not been equally accessible across the VC ecosystem,” Cummings told Forbes.

“So, what we’re looking to do here is invest in who we think will be the next industry-defining companies and leaders.”

While WAV doesn’t have specific requirements, “we tend to look back those founders who have been overlooked and have that chip on their shoulder,” Cummings added.

With $150 million for its first fund, WAV’s partners believe it can bridge the gap for Black founders who raised only 0.13% of US funding in Q3 of 2023.

They aim to do this by leading or co-leading funding rounds immediately following such specialist funds, which often invest a smaller initial check.

“We are really excited to take advantage of a huge white space in the market,” said McKenzie.

“Any time an investor sees white space, they see opportunity.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.