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Intel fund empowers women, minorities

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Intel Capital has launched the Intel Capital Diversity Fund, which will invest in technology start-ups run by women and underrepresented minorities. The largest of its kind, the fund totals approximately $125-million, and investments will cover a broad spectrum of innovative industries.

Also unveiled were the fund’s first investments in four companies.

“We believe that a diverse and inclusive workplace is fundamental to delivering business results,” says Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “Our goal with this new fund is to meaningfully support a technology start-up workforce more reflective of society, and ultimately to benefit Intel and the broader economy through its success.”

“We are proud to take a leading role toward broader participation in technology entrepreneurship and employment,” says Lisa Lambert, MD and vice-president of Intel Capital, who is leading the Intel Capital Diversity Fund. “With this new fund, Intel Capital is committed to investing in the best talent from a myriad of backgrounds to cultivate brilliant innovations that serve the needs of a diverse public.”

Only 15% of venture capital-funded companies in the US have a woman on the executive team, according to a recent Babson College report, and companies with a woman CEO receive only 3 percent of total venture capital dollars.

In addition, fewer than 1% of the founders of Silicon Valley companies are African American or Latino; nearly 100% of funded founders are white or Asian, according to industry surveys.

The Intel Capital Diversity Fund launches with investments in four companies, which will gain access to Intel Capital’s business development programs, global network, technology expertise and brand capital:

* Brit + Co (San Francisco) unlocks creativity by educating, inspiring and supporting women and girls. A media and e-commerce platform, its online classes and all-in-one kits let makers learn everything from calligraphy to building gadgets with Intel Galileo boards.

* CareCloud (Miami) is the leading provider of cloud-based practice management, electronic health record (EHR), and medical billing software and services for medical groups. Intel and CareCloud have jointly authored a whitepaper on cloud computing in healthcare.

* Mark One (San Francisco) uses the Intel Curie hardware module to create a smart cup that automatically recognizes any beverage its user pours into it, displays its nutritional content, and syncs all drinking habits to the user’s smartphone.

* Venafi (Salt Lake City) is the Immune System for the Internet. Venafi protects the foundational element of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused. Venafi constantly assesses which keys and certificates are trusted, protects those that should be trusted, and fixes or blocks those that are not. With Venafi’s key and certificate security solution, Intel can continue to bring market-leading security and datacentre technology to market.