Diverse fund managers can “change the narrative” for Wisconsin’s competitiveness in venture capital while making money and inspiring social change, according to a panel of investors.

Wisconsin investors came together this week in a virtual event hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council to make the case for emerging and diverse fund managers.

An emerging manager’s fund is usually capped at $1 billion, explained Rep. Jason Fields, D-Milwaukee, and founder of Dark Knight Capital Ventures, LLC. He defined a diverse manager as coming from a demographic that’s not heavily funded in the venture capital space, citing as examples people of color, women and veterans.

“When we look at founders, money managers, entrepreneurs, we see that number one, there is a lack of underrepresented capital or managers in these spaces, whether that’s the venture capital space, whether that’s the private equity space, whether that’s the opportunity zones funds space,” he said.

Fields said less than 5 percent of venture capital goes to African Americans and Latinos. He also noted a “huge discrepancy” between male and female founders.

“The assumption too often is that emerging managers and minority managers or diverse managers underperform their peer counterparts,” said Cory Nettles, founder of Generation Growth Capital, Inc. “If you actually look at the data, the exact opposite is true. Emerging managers and diverse managers substantially outperform their nondiverse counterparts.”

“We are not the ‘Black funds,’ we are funds who have the same objective goals as a lot of funds: make money, have a social impact, change the narrative, and so I don’t want us to be put in this box,” Fields added.

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