From gaming-focused tech startups to companies that focus on sexual and reproductive health, young investors under 30 in 2023 are putting their money to work in companies built by and for their immigrant, black and LGBTQ+ peers.
Feither David Brillembourg Jr., investing is all fun and games. The 24-year-old founder of Dune Ventures dropped out of New York University years ago to help game startups receive crucial venture capital funding to bring his visions to life. In 2020, he launched his own company, raising more than $100 million and investing $50 million so far in companies like game clipping service Medal.tv and virtual reality game studio Ramen VR.
“I grew up playing games. I understand games,” says Brillembourg. “I still play games all day.”
The youngest finalist of 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 Venture Capital List, Brillembourg sees his age as an asset, allowing him to connect with the brash 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 off with founders — and with each other — and helping fuel a new generation of entrepreneurs in increasingly important categories, from cannabis to climate and reproductive health.
Built for and alongside Generation Z, this year’s under-30 list at Venture Capital also reflects a slow but significant shift in demographics among emerging investors: finalists on this year’s list included a record number of investors who identified as people of color, with 20, including 13 finalists who identified as women.
That shift is also evident in the companies they support. A erik lim, 29, investing is as much about the founders as it is about the business. Lim founded Potluck Ventures earlier this year to focus on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) founders, creating a space for that community that he wishes he had grown. Lim has raised several million dollars and invested in five AAPI-run companies to date, but his job isn’t just writing a check: The investor has also formed a syndicate of more than 500 community members to invest and profit alongside him. .
in limited companies, kai cunningham, 28, is also looking to make investing in start-ups more inclusive in his community. The African American investor is working through the Limited to help professional athletes and entertainers invest their wealth. More than 80 high-profile athletes currently invest through the Limited, which has invested more than $20 million in startups, while becoming more successful and financially savvy investors in the process.
Then there’s the founder of Spice Capital maya bahai, 28 years old, who believes that everyone can be an investor. Bakhai, who previously worked with Kevin Durant’s 35 Ventures, describes herself as a product of the “Robinhood generation” and was quick to found a $10 million seed fund to invest herself, more than half provided by Women Limited. . partners. She focuses on founders solving problems for the next generation of internet-native consumers, including companies working in crypto, equity, and community.
leonardo arango29, and Alexis Alston, 27, of One Way Ventures and Lightship Capital, are supporting fellow investors of color through reports, podcasts and industry-wide meetups. Others, like Toby Coker, 28, of Felicis, are board members of industry organizations like BLCK VC. And then there are those, like Hunter McNabb, 29, of 9 Yards Capital, who is proud to mentor and advise LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented founders.
Many are firm founders, like the Adapt Ventures brothers. Mohamed Amdani, 27, Y Ammar Amdani, 24 polished chas25, founded Alix Ventures with a focus on healthcare and has made 15 investments. Tim SchlidtThe 29-year-old drew on his own personal experience dealing with depression to start psychedelic-focused Palo Santo. Ali Rohde28, looking to help early-stage founders at his new firm Outset Capital, one $200,000 check and target follow-up investors Airtable at a time.
Others, like Clarey Zhu, 29, have established themselves in renowned venture firms. Zhu, a partner at TCV, has helped implement more than $1.3 billion in companies including Brex, Nubank and ByteDance. Morgan Cheatham, 27, was the youngest investor to serve as a director on behalf of his firm, Bessemer Venture Partners. He will find up-and-coming leaders from big companies like Accel, Meritech and ICONIQ also within the ranks.
What they all have in common: An entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of purpose and leadership that transcends background, company size, or investment stage. That is perhaps not better embodied than by David byrd, 29, who was nearly killed in a shark attack years ago. Given a new lease on life, Byrd raised a $10 million fund to support 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 María Gracia Santillana Linares. Our judges were Kathryn Haun, founder and CEO of Haun Ventures; Garry Tan, partner and founder of Initialized; Logan Bartlett, CEO of Redpoint Ventures and under 30 alumnus; and Sarah Kunst, Under 30 All Star alumnus and CEO of Cleo Capital.