Lorenzo Thione | The full spectrum of diversity in venture, developing soft power and real influence and lowering barriers for LGBTQ leaders.

Future Capital
3 min readNov 9, 2020

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In this session, we spoke with Lorenzo Thione about how he’s been able to leverage his experience starting a company and raising capital into his current work creating an environment and a network to promote a more inclusive startup ecosystem.

Lorenzo is the Managing Director at Gaingels, the second largest syndicate in the united states by total volume of dollars invested. The organization is focused on supporting the LGTBQ community and its allies through adding value at every level of venture funding.

“We’re influencing the ecosystem through soft-power by making sure we are perceived and embraced as a valuable piece of the ecosystem”

Top Four Takeaways from our conversation with Lorenzo:

1. Looking at diversity and equity from a 360 degree view in venture needs to go beyond entrepreneurs.

  • Focusing on representation at the founder level is a piece, but not the whole picture of solving the diversity problem in the venture capital ecosystem.
  • Other players, including senior leaders in companies, board members, LPs, angel investors and general partners, makeup the broader spectrum of the decision making class in the ecosystem.

2. Successful venture investing requires a 3 pronged approach.

  • Education: understanding what an alternative asset class is and how it should work. Making opportunities, processes and instruments digestible is highly valuable to new and aspiring investors.
  • Capital: investors need the capital to invest, but there are also requirements that individuals need to meet in terms of income, wealth or net assets that allow you or prevent you from participating in angel investing.
  • Access: while the thresholds for investment are onerous, they do not cut out entire communities. By building capacity for accredited investors to become active in the ecosystem we can create more LGBTQ decision makers within the ecosystem.
  • For most of the members of the Gaingels community, working with the organization is the first time that they get to think about this information in a structured way.

“Removing the obstacles for people to bring their full identifies to bare is a massive contribution to the individual and to the entire ecosystem around them.”

3. The syndicate model lowers the barriers for investing

  • There is no scenario where you get to make a $5,000 investment into a $50M series-D
  • The syndicate model allows members to pool resources together so that the network can act as one investor in a company and participate in later-stage companies.
  • Gaingels doesn’t see the syndicate model as better, or worse than other models (SPV model, Fund model, Crowdfunding) — it is really about how you want to engage with startups and with your community of individual investors/limited partners.

4. Removing the obstacles for people to bring their full identities to bare is a boon to performance.

  • The LGBTQ community is an umbrella: Within the community there are a lot of different identities that come into intersection.
  • While there a number of aspects of people in the LGBTQ community that can be hidden — it doesn’t necessarily confer a disadvantage.
  • Finding ways that encourage leaders to be their full selves is critical to company performance.
  • The core job to be done is to create the circumstances through which representation becomes more possible and more visible.



Future Capital

We are developing a new, more diverse cohort of startup investors at the angel, syndicate and LP levels.