The National Football League's (NFL) Green Bay Packers, the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks and Major League Baseball's (MLB) Milwaukee Brewers, have teamed up alongside Microsoft to form an Equity League.
The investment fund will go towards improving opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs and provide financial support for technology companies who are making an impact on social change.
The Equity League will form a new impact investment division of venture capital vehicle TitletownTech.
The collaboration forms an investment network that focuses on locating, developing and investing in minority entrepreneurs and growth companies that are creating scalable, social change.
According to the release announcing its formation, the League will create 'more opportunities for Black and LatinX founders' in sectors including, but not limited to, education, financial technology, digital inclusion, health equality, urban innovation and criminal justice reform.
The release also states that 'only one percent of founders are Black and less than two percent are LatinX when looking at venture capital-backed startups. Just three percent of the employees at venture capital investment funds are Black or LatinX professionals'.
"The shared values between the Packers, Bucks, Brewers, Microsoft and TitletownTech is what made this possible," said Green Bay Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy.
"It's time for us to step up and I'm proud we are taking a bigger role to focus on driving meaningful change and bridging a significant gap for social impact companies and minority founders."
Launched in 2017, TitletownTech was formed between Microsoft and the Green Bay Packers, which builds, enables and invests in early-stage and existing businesses. So far, it has scaled over 20 businesses, many of which are located in Wisconsin, the same location of the three franchises collaborating on this project.
Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft added: "The Equity League at TitletownTech is a meaningful step to help Black and LatinX founders get access to capital and support to grow their startups into thriving businesses.
"We are delighted to continue our support of TitletownTech through this unique partnership that brings together sports, business, and community leaders. As an organization, we are committed to driving positive social change and using technology to open more doors of access and opportunity."
Israel Squires, who has been enlisted to run the Equity League as director, stated: “We’re attacking a multi-faceted, generational problem with a multi-faceted, generational solution. Our goal is to invest in companies and founders that have strong potential to produce both significant financial returns and large-scale social impact.
“Our strategy to achieve this is one that challenges the status quo and we’re excited to show how the venture capital and startup space can be used to facilitate long-term, positive change.”
Author: Jake Wilkin