The Green Bay Packers have combined forces with the MLB's Milwaukee Brewers, the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, and Microsoft to form the Equity League -- a new impact investment division of venture capital fund TitletownTech.
The Equity League is collaboration which forms an investment network focused on locating, developing, and investing in minority entrepreneurs and growth companies that are creating scalable, social change. The collaboration targets inequities that exist within the tech startup industry by prioritizing Black and LatinX founders, hiring minority venture fellows, and investing in sectors including, but not limited to education, financial technology, digital inclusion, health equality, urban innovation and criminal justice reform.
A founding principle of the Equity League is that while genius is equally distributed regardless of race, gender, or zip code, opportunity is not. Only one percent of founders are Black and less than two percent are LatinX when looking at venture capital-backed startups. Just three percent of the employees at venture capital investment funds are Black or LatinX professionals.
"The shared values between the Packers, Bucks, Brewers, Microsoft and TitletownTech is what made this possible," said Green Bay Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy. "It's time for us to step up and I'm proud we are taking a bigger role to focus on driving meaningful change and bridging a significant gap for social impact companies and minority founders."
First announced in 2017, TitletownTech was formed out of a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft, and is located across the street from Lambeau Field. The organization builds, enables, and invests in early-stage and existing businesses and identifies solutions, develops startups, and funds entrepreneurs across five key verticals: sports, media, and entertainment; digital health; agriculture, water & environment; advanced manufacturing; and supply chain technology.
Building off the success of Titletown Tech, Murphy shared a new vision for an investment network with Rick Schlesinger, President of Business Operations for the Milwaukee Brewers, and Peter Feigin, President of the Milwaukee Bucks. Both Schlesinger and Feigin were on board with Muprhy's idea and wanted to play an active role in changing the landscape to better represent the country's diversity while creating a generational impact.
"We are proud to forge a partnership with the Packers and Brewers to generate such meaningful opportunities for Black and LatinX founders," said Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin. "Our state's professional sports teams are excited to create long-term positive change together.
"The Equity League will create more opportunities for social impact companies and minority founders, which we believe will generate meaningful outcomes for all stakeholders."
This is the first time the Packers, Brewers and Bucks have partnered together for the shared purpose of fostering positive social change in Wisconsin and across the United States. Microsoft, whose mission is to empower every individual and every organization on the planet to achieve more, joins the three professional sports franchises as founders of the Equity League and greatly adds to the historic nature of this collaboration.
"The Equity League at TitletownTech is a meaningful step to help Black and LatinX founders get access to capital and support to grow their startups into thriving businesses," said Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft. "We are delighted to continue our support of TitletownTech through this unique partnership that brings together sports, business, and community leaders. As an organization, we are committed to driving positive social change and using technology to open more doors of access and opportunity."
Israel Squires has been named Director of the Equity League at TitletownTech. Squires, a M&A/securities lawyer, entrepreneur, former collegiate football player and Wisconsin native, has raised millions in venture capital funding, scaled startups in both the United States and China, and broke barriers as a LatinX tech CEO.
"We're attacking a multi-faceted, generational problem with a multi-faceted, generational solution," stated Squires. "Our goal is to invest in companies and founders that have strong potential to produce both significant financial returns and large-scale social impact. Our strategy to achieve this is one that challenges the status quo and we're excited to show how the venture capital and startup space can be used to facilitate long-term, positive change."