Nonprofits  June 9, 2016

Brad Feld, Amy Batchelor aim to boost diversity in tech with $100K matching grant pledge

BOULDER — Local venture capitalist Brad Feld and wife Amy Batchelor announced Thursday morning that they’re donating up to $100,000 of their own money to help in the Techstars Foundation’s efforts to increase diversity in technology entrepreneurship.

Specifically appealing to “anyone who has gone through a Techstars accelerator, done a Startup Weekend, participated in a Startup Week, receives Startup Digest or has been a mentor or investor in any Techstars company or program,” the couple is matching every $2 raised with $1 of their own in a push to raise at least $300,000 for the foundation by the end of summer.

Feld, a cofounder of the Boulder-based Techstars startup accelerator and a managing director of VC firm Foundry Group, and Batchelor, a philanthropist and writer, have long made boosting diversity in tech a mission to boost the proportion of women, minorities and other underrepresented groups.

The Techstars Foundation, meanwhile, was launched last fall with $500,000 in cash contributions from Techstars founders, alumni and others. The foundation made its first round of grants last month to organizations such as Astia, which helps fund women-led startups, and Patriot Boot Camp, a Boulder-based venture that provides entrepreneurial educational programming for military members, veterans and their spouses.

The latest fundraising push will not only add to the Techstars Foundation’s balance available for grant-making but also is aimed at increasing awareness around tech diversity and encouraging participation from the Techstars network, which now includes hundreds of startups around the world.

The Techstars Foundation plans to award a second round of grants in the fall, with the deadline to apply set for July 15.

“Amy and I decided to launch this challenge grant as part of a larger gift from us to the Techstars Foundation,” Feld wrote on his blog. “We hope you join us and support our efforts.”

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