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Money News Briefs

Debut Capital Launches Inaugural Investor-in-Residence Program

Only 0.2 percent of VC partners are Black or Latinx women. This program aims to course correct the lack of representation in the industry. At the end of the program, the participants will have access to invest a total of $100,000 into startups.

Debut Capital, a venture capital firm investing in Black, Latinx and Indigenous (BLI) Founders, has launched its first-ever Investor-in-Residence Program for BLI women. It will inspire those from non-traditional investing backgrounds into having the confidence to become excellent investors. The inaugural class consists of professional athletes. This includes four-time Olympic Track & Field Gold Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, three-time Track & Field Olympian Medalist Lauryn Williams, Olympic Gold Medalist, four-time All-Star, and WNBA Champion Chelsea Gray and 2021 WNBA Champion Lexie Brown.

Sanya Richards-Ross, Lexie Brown, Chelsea Gray, Lauryn Williams

More details on the Investor-in-Residence Program

The participants in this initial class will embark on an intensive six-week program. They’ll learn from VC experts on topics ranging from generating deal flow and portfolio construction to post-investment support. Participants will take their investment thesis from ideology to fruition. They’ll also have access to invest a total of $100,000 into multiple startups. This first cohort focused on female professional athletes to begin closing the gap between them and their male athlete counterparts.

“The gender pay gap between female professional athletes and their male counterparts continues to grow,” says Pilar Johnson, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Debut Capital. “The Debut Investor-In-Residence Program hopes to reduce the gap. It will provide these female athletes with a collaborative space to learn, build generational wealth and inspire others.”

These celebrated athletes bring their unique perspectives and passion to push for progress in changing the makeup of founders in the VC world. They’ll also be founding members of the program who will help design the program for future cohorts.

“I’m pumped to be the recipient of the resources that can be a true catalyst for change,” said Lauryn Williams, four-time Olympian. “Money is not something talked about positively in my community. Discussing next-level financial topics like angel investing will give me the tools to have more productive conversations with people I encounter.”

Debut Capital is here to disrupt the VC world by providing capital and strategic guidance to BLI founders. Ultimately, this will build a more diverse VC ecosystem. Debut’s current portfolio includes Breakr, Loop, Squire, Somewhere Good and more. To learn more about Debut Capital, please visit To learn more about the Investor-in-Residence Program, please visit

About Debut Capital

Debut Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on investing in Black, Latinx and Indigenous Founders (BLI). Debut looks for companies and founders focused on a traditionally overlooked and underserved market within Pre-Seed, Seed and Series-A stages.

Pilar Johnson, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Pilar Johnson is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Debut Capital. Prior to Debut Capital, Johnson led operations at Prolific Interactive including the Diversity & Inclusion implementation and strategy for the company. Beyond D&I, Johnson has also led efforts in M&A, Finance and People Operations. She brings experience and passion for creating equitable, safe spaces for the Black, Latinx and Indigenous community to excel in Debut.

Bobak Emamian, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Bobak Emamian is an Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Debut Capital. Prior to Debut Capital, Emamian was the co-founder & CEO at Prolific Interactive (acquired by WeWork in 2019). This was an award-winning strategy-led mobile product agency recognized as one of Inc. 500’s fastest-growing private companies and one of Crain’s Fast 50. Prolific designed and built apps for companies like SoulCycle, Saks, Gap and American Express.

Lexie Brown

Lexie Brown is a professional basketball player that is a member of the 2021 WNBA Champions Chicago Sky. She graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a graduate degree from the MMS program at Fuqua School of Business. She is also a world traveler, playing on basketball teams in Hungary, Israel and France. While her basketball career is still in its early stages, Brown is looking forward to branching out off the court.

Chelsea Gray

Chelsea Nichelle Gray is an American professional basketball player for the Las Vegas Aces of the Women’s National Basketball Association. She is a four-time all-star, WNBA champion and Olympic Gold medalist. She is currently an investor and advisor in both Barcode and HAELO, along with other startups.

Sanya Richard-Ross

Sanya Richards-Ross is the fastest American woman in history at 400 meters. She became the first American woman in 28 years, and only the 2nd in history, to be crowned Olympic Champion over 400m at the 2012 Games in London. Surging past her competitors in the last 50 meters of the race, Richards-Ross claimed her crown as the 400-meter queen in dramatic fashion. The London games also set the stage for her to become the second most decorated female track and field Olympian of all time. By winning her 4th gold medal, after anchoring the 4x400m relay team to gold for the 3rd consecutive time, Richards-Ross firmly solidified her place in sports history.

Lauryn Williams

Lauryn Williams, CFP is a four-time Olympian and a three-time Olympic medalist. She was the first American woman to earn a medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. While pursuing professional sports, Williams interacted with two financial advisors who didn’t provide the services she needed. She asked friends what they were doing about their finances, and the answers were vague and unsettling. Constantly looking for ways to make a difference in the lives of others, she decided to put her finance degree and MBA to use to fill the gap for young professionals. Eager to learn everything, she then pursued the Certified Financial Planning certification.

Her company, Worth Winning, offers virtual services to help young professionals get the answers to the financial questions that matter most to them. Whether that’s creating a budget, figuring out a plan for paying off student loans, setting goals for savings or understanding your 401(k), Worth Winning is ready to help with all things personal finance.

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