Darrel Frater: Closing the racial wealth gap with venture capital


Ladder works is a publishing platform for various picture books and online programs whose mission is to empower more than one million children to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features our interplanetary journalist Spiffy’s interviews with inspiring social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi people! I’m Spiffy, your interplanetary reporter from planet Earth, back with a new guest. Darrel Frater, Investment Partner at Visible Hands, is committed to making a difference in the world. Let’s see how he does it!

Nice : Welcome to my humble home, Darrel. Let’s start. What challenge do you take up through your work with Visible Hands?

Darrel: Looking forward to being here, Spiffy! Visible Hands is a venture capital firm with a 14-week virtual first accelerator whose mission is to uncover and invest in the unlimited potential of overlooked founders. From the earliest stages of company formation, we provide significant funding (up to $175,000), personalized support, and social capital to help our founders build exceptional tech startups.

Nice : What motivated you to do it?

Darrel: Since 2018, I have been extremely passionate about playing a major role in closing the racial wealth gap. I believe that through entrepreneurship this and many other major problems in the world can be solved. As a VC, I have the opportunity to support entrepreneurs who seek to solve real-world problems through their businesses.

Nice : How would you say Visible Hands works for a fairer world?

Darrel: At Visible Hands, we are a fund focused on diversity. We invest in women and founders of color through our acceleration programs. Through these programs, we equip these founders with the resources and support they need to have a chance at building their business. These founders are typically overlooked by the traditional venture capital industry, so organizations like ours fill the need.

Nice : Tell me more! Is there a recent milestone or initiative you want to share?

Darrel: We recently launched a new Latinx Founder Fellowship program in partnership with Google for Startups called VHLX. Through VHLX, we will provide 20 Latinx founders with $10,000 in non-dilutive capital and resources through our 20-week fellowship. After the fellowship ends, these founders will have the opportunity to receive up to $150,000 in additional capital from Visible Hands. Applications for this program close June 24, 2022.

Nice : Wow that looks amazing. Now tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to have.

Darrel: In addition to my work as an investor at Visible Hands, I’m also the founder of a startup called TheClub, a community live-streaming platform that connects people through engaging virtual parties. I believe that relationship building is key to breaking down racial and economic barriers. We’ve created an exciting new way to meet people online by taking the concept of a nightclub and turning it into an interactive online experience.

Nice : I have to check ! Is there anything else you would like to tell our audience?

Darrel: My background in venture capital was non-traditional and that’s partly because I didn’t learn about venture capital until I was 25. For anyone interested in entrepreneurship and investing, I would highly recommend starting as early as possible. The sooner you engage with the startup community, the more time you have to start building relationships and opening up new opportunities.

Nice : Thank you for speaking with me today, Darrel, it was an honor!

Darrel Frater is an investment partner at Visible Hands VC where he assists the VH team in managing a portfolio of 45 companies. He is a three-time founder, his latest venture being a community live-streaming platform called TheClub, which he founded in 2020. He recently graduated with an MBA from the College of New Jersey where he studied strategy , innovation and leadership.(First published on the Ladderworks website on July 12, 2022.)

© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy artwork by Shreyas Navarre. For the Ladderworks Digital Curriculum to help children in K-3 advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy’s Corner here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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