Zane Venture Fund Closes $1M Diverse Investor Initiative

Zane Venture Fund
3 min readDec 6, 2021


Zane Venture Fund (Zane) announces the closure of its $1 million Diverse Investor Initiative. This unique lower-minimum empowerment initiative is specifically designed for Zane to have more diverse representation in its Limited Partners (LPs).

Where most investment fund commitments start at $250,000, Zane carved out 25 slots for women and POC investors at a “lower” investment point to create an entry point for individuals who are new to investing and venture capital.

Funded overwhelmingly by 19 women investors, who collectively invested $1 million in Zane Venture Fund’s latest close, Zane is making significant strides in the fund’s mission to invest in and back ventures with diverse founding teams who are building tech-enabled companies. Other investors in the Diverse Investor Initiative include 16% LGBTQ; 24%, Men; 76%, Women; 72% Black; 20% White; 4%, Latinx; and 8% Asian.

The Diverse Investor Initiative is another equity-building commitment by Zane Venture Fund to increase representation in venture capital and investments. After Shila Nieves Burney, founder and managing partner of Zane Venture Fund, noticed that she and Tope Awotona, founder and CEO of Calendly, were the only two people of color invested in the fund, she knew she needed to spark change within the fund itself.

“The goal with the fund is to create equity on both sides of the table: for entrepreneurs and for investors. If my LPs all look the same, I thought, am I really being disruptive or am I following the status quo?” said Shila Nieves Burney, Founder and Managing Partner.

After conferring with Zane’s team of advisors and her venture partner, Sig Mosely, the Zane team agreed this was the right opportunity if they were going to move the needle in venture capital for women and people of color. All of Zane advisors are LPs in the fund.

The impact of this investment could be tremendous, both for diverse founders and investors.

A Fidelity Investments’ 2021 Women and Investing Study finds more women are taking steps to help their money work harder to grow through investing. In fact, two-thirds (67%) of women report they are now investing savings they have outside of retirement accounts and emergency funds in the stock market, which represents a 50% increase from 2018, when Fidelity last fielded the study.

“The Southeast is woefully under-ventured, and it feels good to be able to participate in something typically reserved for wealthier investors,” said investor Lynn Ann Gries, who also brought in additional investors for Zane’s Diverse Investor Initiative.

“There is a proven return on investment when you invest in startups with diverse founding teams. Having a significant raise like this by women and other under-represented investors proves that we not only need diverse founders, but also diverse investors at the table,” added Nieves Burney.

A few investors in this initiative include, but are not limited to:

  • Lynn Ann Gries
  • Mandy Bynum McLaughlin
  • Aparna Ramaswamy

Other notables from the $1M carve out include LA’s Arlan Hamilton, founder and general partner at Backstage Capital, Chicago’s Gale Bowman of Vitalize Ventures, and Atlanta’s Jewel Burks Solomon, managing partner at Collab Capital and head of Google for Startups US.

To learn more about Zane Venture Fund, visit ###

About Zane Venture Fund: Zane Venture Fund was created by Shila Nieves Burney to help diverse founders bridge the gap from Seed to Series A and beyond with dollars, education, and exposure. The fund targets innovative tech-enabled companies with diverse leadership teams. The objective is to generate high returns for investors and contribute to closing gender and racial wealth gaps by investing in underrepresented founders.



Zane Venture Fund

We Invest In Early-Stage Companies Led By Exceptional, Diverse Teams Building Tech-Enabled Solutions.