Since 2017, Toney has been incubating Plexo Capital inside GV, formerly known as Google Ventures. The idea with Plexo Capital, which is backed by Alphabet, is to invest as a limited partner in seed funds led by people of color and/or female general partners, Toney said in an interview back in 2017 with Family Office Insights.
There are very few black and Latinx investors, with only 2 percent of investment team members at VC firms identifying as black and just 1 percent identifying as Latinx, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Meanwhile, just 12 percent of investment professionals are women, according to Kapor Center for Social Impact’s latest report.
Here’s how Toney described the beginnings of Plexo:
Plexo is Portuguese for “intricate network,” which is exactly what women and minority VCs tend to have. Their own inherent diversity makes their outlook broader and more open –– they tend to cast their net wide and have a wider lens to spot underserved opportunities that other VCs may particularly miss at the seed stage. A common misperception is that women and minority VCs are only investing into women and minority entrepreneurs which is not true – they are investing into entrepreneurs of all types and are catching missed and underserved opportunities.
In addition to investing as LPs, Plexo Capital will make direct investments in some startups that are funded by firms where Plexo has an LP position.
This is not Toney’s first effort to invest in venture capitalists of color. Toney currently serves as a mentor for HBCU.vc, which aims to diversify the white, male-dominated world of venture capital. HBCU.vc’s program works with students attending historically black colleges and universities to teach them the fundamentals of venture capital and entrepreneurship.
Once Toney raises the money for his fund, he’ll officially leave GV. I’ve reached out to Toney and will update this story if I hear back.