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August +TechTalk Announcement: Examining Equity in Ohio Venture Capital


Cleveland, Ohio — As the sun sets over Lake Erie, the stage at The Shoreway will come alive during Greyt Culture's August Golden Hour event. This month, the spotlight is on a critical discussion taking place in Cleveland's startup community: uplifting underrepresented founders in the venture capital (VC) space.


During each Golden Hour event, Greyt Culture hosts +TechTalk conversations, intimate podcast recordings filmed on stage as guests bustle into the gorgeous landscape of sunset over Lake Erie. These conversations are more than just talks; they bring to life our shared mission to understand the latest technologies, systems, and resources under development in our community, with the hope that it will shape a better future for all of us.



On August 18th, Camille Heard will moderate the August +TechTalk discussion with Lindsay Karas and Ethan Holmes. The panel will examine Equity in VC in Cleveland and Ohio, sharing their experiences and thoughts navigating the space over the years, as founders and investors, as well as what's to come and still needs to get done.


The idea for this talk was made possible by our friends at FutureLAND, an annual conference celebrating the diversity in tech, arts, and culture in northeast Ohio; it is also a proactive response to the glaring and persistent disparities between BIPOC founders and their white counterparts.


With this in mind, it's easy to see how communities and platforms like Greyt Culture or FutureLAND can bring to life what is envisioned by the next generation of artists and founders hailing from our beautiful city.


“Cleveland is a majority Black city with emerging vibrancy around entrepreneurship and the tech ecosystem,” said Justin Bibb, mayor of Cleveland, during FutureLAND 2022 in Cleveland’s Terminal Tower and the East Bank Flats.


Bibb continues, “And we really want to make sure we use this conference as a way to highlight those founders, those thought leaders, and those creatives right in our own backyard.”


This +TechTalk aims to shed light on the critical questions surrounding equity in VC, including:

  • How can we systematically increase the flow of cash and capital investments that benefit women and BIPOC founders and investors in Cleveland and Ohio?

  • What strategies can be employed to deploy networks, industry knowledge, and customer relationships to benefit women and BIPOC founders and investors?

  • How can we develop and transparently track standardized DEI metrics to drive accountability across solution areas in the regional and statewide startup ecosystem?

  • How can communities like FutureLAND, and Greyt Culture, contribute to these goals?

  • What are the practical steps that can be taken to overcome the “Big Rocks” that underrepresented founders face?

For us, this conversation is not about simply identifying the problems but is about fostering a dialogue that can lead to actionable solutions. It is about Cleveland’s startup community coming together to ensure that opportunity does not discriminate, that innovation is for everyone, and that the future of tech in Cleveland is as diverse as the community it serves.


For answers to these questions and to contribute to the discussion, join Greyt Culture for this exciting +TechTalk at The Shoreway during the August Golden Hour event.


Panelist Details

Lindsay Karas, a partner at Thompson Hine and founding investor at BOLD Ventures, has been in the VC space since 2007. She is a seasoned legal advisor who works with startups and VC investors across the country. Lindsay is committed to the intentional hiring and promotion of women and BIPOC individuals as investors. At BOLD Ventures, she focuses on investing in Seed-Series A companies led primarily by women, diverse founders, and veterans in various sectors. Lindsay is passionate about changing the way VC is done, promoting founder wellness, and driving accountability through standardized DEI metrics.


Ethan Holmes, a young entrepreneur making waves in the food industry with his company, Holmes Applesauce, is committed to changing the world through his products. He is a living example of the potential underrepresented founders have when given the opportunity. Ethan’s organization is built on three pillars: Family, Quality, and Community. He is an advocate for education and mentorship programs that give underrepresented entrepreneurs the confidence and know-how they need to succeed.


Camille Heard, Entrepreneur-In-Residence at JumpStart, is a driving force behind FutureLAND. She took a leap of faith in 2018, leaving her full-time job to pursue entrepreneurship, and support founders through her work with JumpStart. She emphasizes the internal strength required for entrepreneurship and is a strong advocate for increasing the flow of capital to underrepresented founders and investors. Camille is working tirelessly to ensure that more dollars are controlled by more underrepresented people, not just through traditional VC, but also through corporate partnerships and grants. According to Camille, "We need more dollars, more varied dollars, and more underrepresented people controlling the flow of these dollars."

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