Silicon Valley's #1 Fundraising Coach for Underrepresented Founders
Less than 1% of venture capital goes to Black women, and less than 1% of venture investment roles are held by Black women. After working in South Central Los Angeles as a 6th grade teacher, Mandela SH Dixon dropped out of her PhD program, and became one of the first Black women to raise venture capital from Silicon Valley investors in 2012. A few years later, Mandela became one of the first Black women to work at a venture capital firm.
Mandela both personally experienced and witnessed the compounded consequences of underrepresented founders not getting access to the capital, network, and insider information required to successfully scale a tech startup. This is why she launched Founder Gym's inaugural cohort in 2018, which has now become the #1 online training program helping underrepresented groups learn how to raise capital to scale their tech startups.
Prior to Founder Gym, Mandela was the Founding Portfolio Services Director at venture capital firm Kapor Capital, managing a portfolio of over 120 tech startups including Uber, Twilio, and Newsela. There, she co-launched the Founders Commitment, the first-ever diversity and inclusion pledge upheld by a VC firm and co-designed 10 workshops teaching startups how to bake diversity and inclusion into the DNA of their companies. Mandela was also the Global Director of Startup Weekend Education, scaling its reach from two to six continents in less than two years and transforming it into the largest community of edtech entrepreneurs in the world.
Mandela is an active angel investor, LP, Sequoia Capital Scout, and an inaugural member of First Round Capital's Angel Track program, composed of select angel investors from the most successful tech companies. Mandela is a respected thought-leader, who has shared her frameworks for success on over 150 stages and more than 100 publications. Mandela has received various recognitions, including being named Entrepreneur magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women, a Forbes 30 Under 30 awardee, and LinkedIn's Top 10 Voices in Venture Capital and Startups.
My parents didn’t raise me to see hierarchies of people based on social constructs. I see the humanity, love and power in everyone.”
- Mandela Schumacher-Hodge DixonFounder and CEO of Founder Gym