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Valor general partners, L to R, Lisa Calhoun, Robin Bienfait and Gary Peat (Photo: Business Wire)
Valor Fund 2 leads first professional rounds in scaling platform technologies led by diverse teams at the seed stage in the southeastern United States, pursuing a large and growing opportunity in the only region in the country growing at double-digit rates. Valor Ventures’ Inclusion Premium investing approach aims to take advantage of the 15-35% greater financial returns delivered by diverse and inclusive teams, according to research from multiple sources such as Morgan Stanley, McKinsey and Kauffman Fellows. Across Valor’s entire portfolio, 70% of the portfolio is led by underrepresented founders. Over 20 years, Peat has earned an impressive institutional track record investing at seed stage.
“Now is the time for Inclusion Premium investing and increasing access to capital for underserved founders, particularly founders of color. Investing with inclusion is an investment in the founders who generate the best returns,” says Peat. “Over the last 20 years, most established VCs outside of Silicon Valley abandoned seed and early-stage and moved to growth stage. Valor is committed to seed and early-stage, which have always produced the best returns,” says Peat.
In 1996, Peat began his career in startup investing as a Partner at Stonehenge Partners, where his first deal as a Partner was leading the seed round of Atlanta-based SecureTax. In 2000, he joined Council Capital in Nashville as General Partner. Peat was a General Partner at Council Capital for 3 funds, including their fully realized debut fund that achieved a top-decile return. Examples of Peat’s 36 prior investments consistent with Valor’s strategy include leading the seed round of Lancope, Inc., an ATDC spin-out that returned 1X Council Capital’s debut fund when Lancope was acquired by Cisco in 2015 and Council Capital’s investment in InTouch Health in their second fund, which is under definitive agreement to be acquired by Teladoc for $600 million.
“Gary brings a strong track record of returns and relationships in Valor’s target geography and stage,” says Lisa Calhoun, General Partner and Founder of Valor. “He is passionate about the unique strengths in this region and has the courage, conviction, and bias-free curiosity we are known for.”
“We have a rewarding opportunity in the Southeast to drive real-world innovation on a global scale, and Gary’s experience is a strong fit with that mandate,” says Valor General Partner Robin Bienfait, who joined the firm in Fund 1. Bienfait’s global technology career includes a series of C-level roles including Chief Innovation Officer, Samsung, and CIO and CISO at both Blackberry and AT&T.
About Valor Ventures
Founded in 2015, Valor Venture leads first rounds in financial inclusion platform software. We focus in the Southeast, which features 40% of the U.S. population and the greatest density of under-represented founders. Our purpose is creating market-leading returns for our stakeholders. Our mission is making inclusion the new normal in venture capital. Our platform includes Startup Runway, the largest pitch event for underrepresented founders in the country; Atlanta Startup Podcast; and Atlanta Tech Park, the 45,000 innovation center dedicated to accelerating local tech innovation globally. Find out more at www.valor.vc.