Hoping to make sure that female and unrepresented minority entrepreneurs gain access to the proper capital to promote business development for technology companies, Intel Capital has begun a Diversity Fund to help give them that necessary support.
Vice President of Intel Capital Lisa Lambert, 47, is helping to lead the charge toward this more diverse means of funding.
“For Intel it began with the announcement that Brian [Krzanich], our CEO, made [about] his desire to impact the Intel workforce and culture representation by 2020… [and also] positively impact the industry” Lambert said, who also doubles as the managing director of Intel Capital’s Software and Services Group and the Intel Capital Diversity Fund.
Many ideas and programs were floating around to help achieve that goal, such as STEM education, but Lambert felt that the Intel Capital Diversity Fund was broad enough to reach that means. She put together the diversity fund proposal this March of this year, presented it to the CEO, after which they decided to head in that direction.
Lambert mentioned how this program would be affective in her mind both professionally and personally.
“To me, professionally, it means that we’re going to be able to find some very high quality companies that represent Intel’s customer demographic,” she said.
Lambert pointed out that those individuals are intelligent and have great ideas, and so are more than capable of building technology companies.
“[These] are business professionals, and they want the opportunity to realize their visions, their dreams, [and] their ideas,” Lambert stated, “the only way to do that in this world is by having capital.” This program is simply giving those professionals that opportunity. As Lambert said, “with capital, these ideas can flourish.”
“The issue has been a funding gap, not an idea gap,” Lambert said. “[People] need to fund these companies, and we’re hoping we can impact that,” she added.
As a woman and underrepresented minority herself, Lambert views the program not only as good business but also good for society overall.
Lambert also started a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of professional women. “I’ve talked to a number of women entrepreneurs about the subject,” she said, “[I’ve] heard their stories about the difficulties they’ve had getting equity capital, and I’m very sympathetic to that.”
Like any venture capital fund, Intel uses their connections, personal and professional networks, to seek out and find startups that they are interested in funding.
“It’s a very broad community,” Lambert mentioned. “Fortunately myself and my team are diverse and we have access to a lot of the networks that [involve] unrepresented minorities and women.”
Thus far, Intel has identified over 100 startups in their pipeline, and has contacted a large percentage of them to begin getting them involved with the program.
Intel also has an amount that they expect to invest each year in startup companies. The fund will invest $125 million in these startups over the next five years; however, there is no set amount to the number of companies they will reach.
“It depends on the market, depends on the opportunities,” Lambert said.
“It’s been amazing that we were able to get support for a $125 million fund and announce that, targeting women and African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native Americans, to me is a landmark event. It is the largest fund by far servicing this community,” Lambert said.
Intel and Lambert hope to see great advancement with companies over the next five years thanks to these capital funding.
Visit the Intel Diversity Fund website to learn more.
Steph Elizondo is an intern at Lioness. The 21-year-old Western New England University (WNEU) junior is an English-Literature major. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine at WNEU, as well as a staff writer for the school’s newspaper. She enjoys writing stories and poetry creatively, as well as essays and articles professionally. She hopes to become a professional writer and editor.