Harlem Capital is a seed-stage generalist fund focused on investing in founders “from all backgrounds, genders and walks of life.” The team is headquartered in New York and invests all across the country. Founded in 2015, it’s now one of the largest diversity-focused VC firms; they’re aiming to invest in 1,000 diverse founders in 20 years.
Founders Jarrid Tingle and Henri Pierre-Jacques didn’t originally plan on starting a VC firm. During their undergraduate years—Henri at Northwestern and Jarrid at Wharton—they fell into the investment banking track, as many of their peers did. Today, their team includes Henri, Jarrid, Brandon Bryant, Gabby Cazeau, Kelly Kopchik Goldstein, and Nicole DeTommaso.
Harlem Capital invests in seed-stage companies based in the U.S. with a commitment to funding minority and women entrepreneurs. With its second, $134 million fund, the firm plans to invest in 45 companies. The firm continues to find new ways to create alignment among its key stakeholders, its founders, the team, and its limited partners. The firm states, “[w]ith its second fund, Harlem Capital will also introduce ‘Culture Carry’—allowing Fund II founders to split 1% of the fund’s carry. Fund I founders will also now have culture carry. The decision ensures all founders will benefit directly from each other’s success, aligned with Harlem Capital’s mission to promote a stronger ecosystem of diverse founders.”
As a speaker at Carta’s 2020 Table Stakes event, Jarrid shared how the Harlem Capital investment thesis evolved. “Eventually our strategy found us, we started sourcing deals. We started getting attention and we found that most of our deal flow was coming from early-stage startups. We had great minorities and women in our network who were having great companies, but were having a hard time raising funding. After we pulled back the layers of the onion, we realized that this is probably in large part because there’s not diverse representation on the GP side and there may be opportunity to really own this market and help grow the ecosystem.”
Why we invested
We invested in Harlem Capital because this team has built an outstanding and visionary firm. Jarrid has joined us for several Carta events, including Table Stakes and Carta Conversations. Each time we learn more about the team, we’re inspired by their entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary, inclusive spirit. Not only does Harlem Capital invest in diverse founders, they’ve also made it their mission to develop the next generation of venture capital talent.
At Carta Conversations, Jarrid said, “We’re really excited about putting capital in the hands of women and minorities and seeing what they’re able to do with it and be so resourceful and scrappy. We’re always trying to get more people in the industry. We have a really robust intern program. We’ve had 58 interns cycle through; 17 of them have already gone into venture or private equity. We hope to encourage more diverse people to start companies and become VC investors. That’s the dream for us as a firm.”