The First Close Podcast: Candice Matthews Brackeen, Lightship Capital

April 5, 2021
Jessica Straus

When Candice Matthews Brackeen was an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, she worked as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. During her short time there, she wrote an algorithm to help the company schedule flight attendants, beginning her track record of innovation and change that would continue throughout her career.

Now, Candice is General Partner at Lightship Capital, a seed-stage venture firm based in Cincinnati. Before making her way into the venture capital industry, Candice got her start as an entrepreneur, founding two businesses: a stroller company and a fitness boutique. As she became more involved in the startup community in the Midwest, she began noticing how few resources were available to Black founders. Determined to bridge this gap, Candice founded the Black Founders Network and later the Hillman Accelerator to support underrepresented startup founders. 

Candice’s commitment to changing the narrative around marginalized groups in the Midwest startup community has defined the path for her first venture firm, Lightship Capital, which she founded in 2018 with her husband, Brian. The Mighty Middle has been overlooked in the venture community, and Candice is committed to investing in and providing support to founders who are commonly overlooked because of their identity or background. 

In this episode of The First Close, we cover:

  • How Candice got her start in venture capital 

  • Her role in helping the state of Ohio evaluate its investment in early-stage companies 

  • The under-capitalization of the Midwest

  • The biggest challenges of setting up her first firm

  • What Candice aspires to change when it comes to diversity in the venture community

Listen to our interview with Candice by streaming The First Close on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. 

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