Brandon Hoffman

17 November 2020

1 min read


In the spotlight @ HLTH VRTL

By Jonathan Machado

10 min read

The events of the past year, which were punctuated by the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, are stark reminders for many Americans that advancing diversity and inclusion across every industry is crucial, not just for the sake of our democracy, but for fostering creativity and innovation.

Through our Diverse Founders Initiative at Samsung Next, we’ve spent the last two years actively thinking about how we can leverage our resources to create a more inclusive ecosystem.

One of the solutions we’re thrilled to roll out is our partnership with Techstars, a leading global platform for investment and innovation. Our joint initiative focuses on recruiting and investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs.

“Techstars and Samsung Next share a vision to not just invest in underrepresented founders, but to leverage our respective capabilities and platforms to fundamentally change the startup landscape to reflect the diversity we see in the world,” says David Cohen, founder and managing director at Techstars.

Our partnership tackles four primary barriers for underrepresented entrepreneurs: access to capital, network, mentors, and education.

To address this challenge, Samsung Next will fast-track referrals of underrepresented founders to Techstars. This will enable these entrepreneurs to tap into a vast network of experienced mentors and to gain access to accelerator programs that have supported 2,150 companies since 2006.

In exchange, Techstars plans to refer promising early-stage software and services companies founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs to Samsung Next. With our help, these entrepreneurs could receive the funding they need to grow and scale their companies.

Even before this partnership was formalized, we were working with Techstars to advise companies and connect them with startups. We have big plans ahead, including the development of a network of later-stage investors that can offer startups additional financing. Eventually, we want to realize an audacious goal in which several of today’s startups become giants of industry tomorrow.

If just a handful of the underrepresented founders we’ve coached and invested in have successful exits, the ripple effects could be huge. Some of those founders and employees may pay it forward by becoming angel investors, starting new companies of their own, or reinvesting in the community.

If we can say we had a hand in their successes — no matter how small — then our partnership will have been worthwhile.