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a16z & Pursuit

Pursuit is now an official a16z non-profit partner through its new Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF).

We are thrilled to share that Pursuit is an official non-profit partner with a16z, one of Silicon Valley’s preeminent venture capital firms, through its new Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF). CLF is committed to connecting the world’s cultural leaders to new technology companies and enabling more African Americans to enter the industry. We will work closely with them to realize this vision.

Andreessen Horowitz invests into the world’s greatest technology startups and this fund will donate 100% of the management fees and carried interest to non-profits that advance this mission. The Fund’s Limited Partners are exclusively cultural leaders such as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Will and Jada Smith, Chance the Rapper, Queen’s own Nas, and more.

Pursuit is working to close the prosperity gap in America by focusing on serving adults who do not have college degrees. Only 30.8% of black adults have college degrees. With educational attainment directly tied to salary—the median lifetime salary of a non-college grad is $27K—it’s critical that we forge new pathways for this population to not only gain meaningful jobs but become leaders in the industry.

This is a significant partnership for Pursuit and will accelerate our shared mission of creating opportunity:

  • Andreessen Horowitz invests in best-in-class companies that have the potential to significantly scale and create massive change in their fields. Their portfolio includes leading companies such as Twitter, Airbnb, Slack, Facebook, Pinterest, and more. This commitment by a16z reflects their belief in Pursuit’s strategy for developing a scalable business model, our long-term vision for creating systemic change, and the amazing potential of our Fellows, alumni, and staff. As a part of this, Pursuit is committed to scaling our work and expanding our impact across the country.
  • This partnership is a 10-year commitment to Pursuit through the lifecycle of the fund. During this time, a16z will provide Pursuit with the firm’s capital, expertise, and networks. In addition to a yearly donation from the fund’s management fees, the capital will include the fund’s carry based on the fund’s performance and our performance. I fully expect Pursuit to meet the benchmarks and compete for the carry.
  • We will be creating employment opportunities for our Fellows at a16z’s innovative portfolio companies, which span all industries and use technology to “put a dent in the universe.” In addition, we will work together with a16z to create and identify best practices for hiring and onboarding for our audience, many of whom do not have college degrees or professional experience.
  • Pursuit is devoted to the long-term success of our Fellows, supporting their leadership development and entrepreneurship. It’s my hope that, over the next 10 years (by the end of this fund), that our Fellows will start industry-changing companies and will become the founders of a16z portfolio companies. Giving our Fellows access to the networks and job opportunities at these top startups and growth-stage companies is the first step to achieving this
We are grateful that Pursuit has best-in-class backers such as a16z as part of our “One Big Team.” We share many core principles and values — being data-driven, outcomes-focused, and operating with a long-term perspective on change. Their visionary and innovative model for providing multi-faceted services to support their portfolio and making big bets on people is one that I believe Pursuit can follow. We look forward to us all working more closely with the Cultural Leadership Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, and their greater community.

This partnership is due to the extraordinary work of our team and the success of our Fellows. A big thanks goes out Elea Crockett, Caroline Oh, Scott Gargan, Dave Yang and others on our team for their ingenuity and hard work to make this partnership possible.

Thank you as well to those in the tech and VC communities who supported our proposal. They include Aaron Holiday, Hunter Walk, Kelvin Beachum, Jimmy Chen of Propel, and Khalid El Khatib of Stack Overflow, Charles Hudson, Jen Stredler—all of whom advocated on Pursuit’s behalf and have long demonstrated their steadfast support for our work and mission.

Special thanks also goes to our extraordinary Fellows Jonelle Bain, Max Mazalon, Eli Peraza-Munoz, and Genesis Mosquera who presented their products and shared their incredible passion with the a16z team. You are why we are excited about this partnership. We hope this will accelerate your careers and showcase the potential of all of our Fellows.

Finally, we want to thank Chris Lyons at a16z, who is leading the Cultural Leadership Fund, and Jessica Patton, who led the selection of the Fund’s nonprofit partners. Both Chris and Jessica offered critical support to Pursuit; without them our participation wouldn’t be possible.

We couldn’t have done this without all of you.

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