These Investors Are Backing The Gen Z Founders Building A Better Tomorrow

From gaming-focused tech startups to companies focusing on sexual and reproductive health, young investors Under 30 in 2023 are putting their money into companies created by and for their immigrant, people-of-color and LGBTQ+ peers.

Through Alex Konrad, Maria Gracia Santillana Linares and Elisabeth Brier


Fo David Brillembourg Jr, investing is fun and games. The 24-year-old founder of Dune Ventures dropped out of New York University years ago to help gaming startups receive crucial venture capital funding to make their dreams come true. In 2020, he launched his own company, raising over $100 million and investing $50 million so far in companies such as game clipping service Medal.tv and virtual reality games studio Ramen VR.

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“I grew up playing. I understand games,” Brillembourg said. “I still play all day.”

The youngest finalist in 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 on Venture Capital’s list, Brillembourg sees his age as an asset, allowing him to connect with brash and young founders in the gaming space. But he’s also one of a new wave of faces in venture capital who are showing leadership in different ways, paying it forward with founders—and each other—and helping to foster a new generation of entrepreneurs in increasingly important categories from cannabis to climate and reproductive health care.

Building for and with Gen Z, this year’s Under 30 in Venture Capital list reflects a slow but significant demographic shift among startup investors, too: finalists on this year’s list include a record number of investors who identified as people of color, with 20, including 13 finalists who identified as women.

That change is also evident in the companies they support. To Erik Lim, 29, investing is about the founders and about the business. Lim founded Potluck Ventures earlier this year to focus on Asian-American and Pacific Island (AAPI) founders, creating a space for the community he wants to grow. Lim has raised several million dollars and invested in five AAPI-led companies to date, but his job isn’t just writing a check: the investor has also assembled a syndicate of more than 500 other community members. to invest and benefit with him

At Limited Ventures, Kai Cunningham, 28, is looking to make startup investing more inclusive in his community as well. African American investors work through Limited to help professional athletes and entertainers invest their wealth. More than 80 high-profile athletes currently invest through Limited, deploying over $20 million to startups, while becoming more financially literate and successful investors in the process.

Then there is the founder of Spice Capital Maya Bakhai, 28, who believes that everyone can become an investor. Bakhai, who previously worked at Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures, describes himself as a product of the “Robinhood generation,” and has not hesitated to establish a $10 million early-stage fund to invest in himself , more than half of what limited women provide. partners. He focuses on founders solving problems for the next generation of internet-native consumers, including companies working in crypto, capital and community.

Leonardo Arango29, and Alexis Alston, 27, of One Way Ventures and Lightship Capital, supports their fellow investors of color through reports, podcasts and meetups across the industry. Others, apparently Toby Coker, 28, of Felicis, are board members of industry organizations such as BLCK VC. And then there are those, like Hunter McNabb, 29, of 9 Yards Capital, which proudly mentors and mentors LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented founders.


Many are established founders, like the Adapt Ventures brothers Mohammed Amdani, 27, and Ammar Amdani, 24. Chas Pulido25, founded Alix Ventures with a focus on healthcare and has made 15 investments. Tim Schlidt29, drew on his own personal experience dealing with depression to start the psychedelic-focused Palo Santo. Ali Rohde28, meanwhile, is looking to help the founder in the early stages of his new firm Outset Capital, a $200,000 check and Airtable targets follow-on investors at a time.

Others, apparently Clarey Zhu, 29, have established themselves in large venture firms. A partner at TCV, Zhu has helped deploy more than $1.3 billion in companies such as Brex, Nubank and ByteDance. Morgan Cheatham, 27, is the youngest investor to take a board director seat on behalf of his company, Bessemer Venture Partners. You’ll find up-and-coming leaders from big companies like Accel, Meritech and ICONIQ in the lineup as well.

What they all have in common: an entrepreneurial spirit, and a sense of purpose and leadership that transcends backgrounds, company size or investment stage. That is perhaps no better represented than David Byrd, 29, who almost lost his life in a shark attack a few years ago. With a new lease on life, Byrd raised $10 million in funding to back semiconductor companies soon after. Now a partner at BlueYard Capital, the software engineer-turned-investor is helping founders in a new category, decentralized wireless (DeWi).

This year’s 30 Under 30 list was edited by senior editor Alex Konrad, program manager Elisabeth Brier, and assistant editor Maria Gracia Santillana Linares. Our judges are Kathryn Haun, founder and CEO of Haun Ventures; Garry Tan, partner and founder of Initialized; Logan Bartlett, managing director at Redpoint Ventures and an Under 30 alum; and Sarah Kunst, an Under 30 All Star alum and managing director at Cleo Capital.

For a link to the full list of Under 30 Venture Capital, click hereand for full 30 Under 30 coverage, press here.

Gallery: Callouts 30 Under 30 2023

20 pictures

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