About Fifth Star Funds
Fifth Star Funds is a venture philanthropy fund fighting to close the racial funding gap where only 1% of venture capital is awarded to Black tech founders today. We accomplish this by investing in Black tech founders in Chicago at the early stage “Friends & Family” round. We believe the funding gap at this stage is the most critical to address, as centuries of inequity have prevented these potential entrepreneurs from having the initial capital to start their businesses. Anyone can contribute to the fund as a tax-deductible donation, and 100% of all returns from successful investments are reinvested into the fund to support future generations of Black founders. We employ rigorous, objective processes to evaluate founders to remove the racial biases that exist in the venture landscape. In our first year, we have invested in 10 wonderful Black-led startups and have raised over $1M in community donations for the fund.
The Chicago flag features four stars that represent pivotal events in our city’s history; we contend that the Fifth Star belongs to underrepresented founders and the extraordinary impact they will have on our city’s future.
Fifth Star Funds is seeking a Venture Associate to help us scale our operations and build a more inclusive tech ecosystem in Chicago. Reporting directly to the Executive Director, this position offers an exciting opportunity to gain experience in building a venture philanthropy fund to invest in and support Black tech founders. The role will touch on the primary pillars of Fifth Star Funds (Investing, Portfolio Support, Fundraising) and will have a direct impact on the future direction of the fund. Candidates will gain the opportunity to learn about the venture landscape, build strong relationships with local tech startup founders, and connect with key partners in the Chicago tech community.
Investing (approx 40%)
- Screen all entrepreneur applications to Fifth Star Funds
- Coordinate scheduling of meetings between founders and Fifth Star Funds team
- Handle all correspondence with founders throughout the interview process
- Attend all interview meetings with founders and evaluation meetings with Fifth Star Funds investment committee
- Draft internal deal memo documentation and feedback emails to founders
- Offer continuous input into refining our rubric and mission to remove bias in the evaluation of founders
- Foster relationships with ecosystem partners in the Chicago tech community to continue to build our sourcing application funnel
Portfolio Support (approx 40%)
- Support our portfolio startups in reaching their next milestones by understanding their needs and connecting them to Fifth Star Funds’ network and resources
- Identify and map the ecosystem of all external support programs (e.g., incubators, mentors, investors) we can offer our founders
- Formalize and create processes for engaging our mentor network
- Consolidate and standardize internal resources to offer our founders
- Cultivate strong culture and peer mentorship amongst our portfolio companies
- Lay foundation for programming to support the founders we do not invest in
- Build engagement in our community Slack channel
Fundraising (approx 20%)
- Craft target lists of individuals and philanthropic organizations to reach out to for donations to our fund
- Participate in pitch meetings and follow ups with major donors and partners
- Cultivate relationships with our Unlimited Partner (UP) donors (e.g., community events, donor messaging)
- Draft applications for foundation grants
- Draft collateral for pitch materials
- Operationalize and streamline our fundraising processes
- Relevant degree with professional project management experience preferred but not required
- Passionate about creating equity in venture funding for early stage Black founders
- Experience and/or familiarity with entrepreneurship, the Chicago startup tech- ecosystem, nonprofits, and/or venture capital highly preferred
- Excellent written and oral communications skills
- Tech-savvy and great at figuring out new things (entrepreneurial “figure it out” mindset)
- Proven ability to deliver high quality reporting using a range of methods and tools and ability to adapt reporting delivery to specific audience needs
- Highly organized and process oriented project management skills
- Strategic ability to see opportunities and contribute to designing innovative solutions backed by strong planning skills and in multi-stakeholder contexts
- Previous experience creating and executing complex processes, programs, or events
$75,000 - $85,000 depending on competencies and experience.
What to Expect / Benefits
This job will be 95% remote, with day-to-day communications handled through Slack, Zoom, and Google Workspace. The Fifth Star Funds team will occasionally meet in person for team meetings and community events in Chicago (proximity to Chicago is preferred for candidates). This position reports directly to the Executive Director.
- Mission-focused organization seeking to improve racial equity in Chicago tech
- Learn how to evaluate and invest in early stage tech startups
- Work closely with the 9 co-founders of Fifth Star Funds who are all seasoned tech entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and industries
- Opportunity to be an integral part of the startup and venture ecosystem of Chicago
- Insurance: Medical, Dental, and Vision Plans
- Workplace Wellness
- Employee Assistance Program
- 403(b) Retirement Plan
- Basic Life Insurance and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
- Voluntary Life
- Voluntary AD&D
- Short-term Disability insurance
- Long-term Disability insurance
- Flexible Spending Account
- Parking and Transportation Savings Account
Fifth Star Principles & Values
Fifth Star Funds exists to reduce the bias in early-stage venture funding to enable more Black founders to access “Friends and Family” stage capital. We do this with our innovative fund model and process that accounts for the unique challenges and unfair obstacles faced by Black founders. We have core principles that guide how we operate and engage with founders:
- We are mindful of the power dynamic created in the venture funding process and believe it is a privilege for us to engage with each founder whose potential exit could support us in furthering our mission.
- The venture evaluation process should be a mechanism to identify and highlight the strengths in founders rather than the weaknesses. In every interview, we should focus on looking for signs of strength in the candidate, rather than signs of weakness.
- Respect the time and effort founders have dedicated to their venture by asking questions rather than making assumptions or assertions. We should always assume that the founder has more information about their domain of expertise than we do, and we are trying to learn more about that information.
- Transparency Transparency Transparency. We are transparent with our intentions. We are transparent with our process. We are transparent with our decisions. We tell the truth.
- We all have biases but it is our responsibility to check them at the door.
Fifth Star Funds prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship or immigration status, veteran status, disability status, family or parental status, or age. We encourage individuals from all backgrounds, both traditional and nontraditional, to apply.
Apply here and a Fifth Star team member will review your application. Thank you!