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Renowned capital firm wants to fund more black entrepreneurs

PICTURED: Will Smith

RENOWNED CAPITAL firm Andreessen Horowitz is launching a new fund geared towards backing black celebrities, athletes and media figure entrepreneurs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Andreessen Horowitz, which has funded companies including Airbnb, Lyft and Coinbase, is raising roughly $15 million for the new fund. Will Smith, Golden State Warriers player Kevin Durant and Richelieu Dennis - the publisher of Essence magazine - have reportedly signed on as limited partners.

According toThe Wall Street Journal, the three of them have already made names for themselves in Silicon Valley. Durant has closed several deals, both individually and through The Durant Company, with a portfolio that includes Postmates and Acorns.

Smith, meanwhile, is a fundraiser: He’s in the process of pulling together $100 million for a VC vehicle called The Dreamers Fund through a partnership with soccer star Keisuke Honda. And Dennis has become known as an advocate for black women—he recently helped launch a $100 million fund to invest in black female founders.

Andreessen Horowitz is calling its new effort "Culture." Fees and carried interest from the fund will be donated to nonprofits focused on bringing more diversity into the tech sector.

“Andreessen is one of the best in the world at tech and so the opportunity to partner with them in the tech space and focus purposefully and intently on creating opportunities for people of color in tech….is an important one,” said Mr. Dennis. Technology is “an area that is rapidly growing, and we’re disproportionately left out of it,” he added.

WSJ also reports that a16z will co-invest alongside the Culture fund with capital from its main vehicle, presumably Andreessen Horowitz Fund V, which closed on just north of $1.5 billion in 2016.

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