Jan 8, 2024 - News

New Denver-based VC firm is doling out $10K to underrepresented founders

Illustration of a person stepping up stairs made of stacks of cash.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ThingVC, a new Denver-based venture fund, is looking to give 15 first-time founders from underrepresented backgrounds $10,000 this year to help get their businesses off the ground.

Why it matters: The company wants to boost funding for a group of nontraditional entrepreneurs — including people of color, those who've been formerly incarcerated, immigrants, and people with disabilities — where VC money is in short supply.

What they're saying: "You look at the numbers, and it's all overwhelmingly white and male," ThingVC co-founder Mike Gellman, who sold his web design firm Spire Digital in 2019, tells us.

Details: ThingVC, which launched in mid-2023, is the brainchild of Gellman and Chris Glodé, who sold his personal genomics startup HumanCode in 2018.

  • The two write $10,000 checks to promising entrepreneurs at a $200,000 valuation.
  • ThingVC doesn't take its cut until the company they've invested in earns $100,000 in profit, which gets put back into ThingVC's fund, allowing them to do more deals and run a "self-sustaining model."

How it works: Entrepreneurs submit their ideas to ThingVC through an online application. Gellman and Glodé then ask selected people to submit business plans and meet over Zoom.

  • In addition to cash, Gellman and Glodé use their 25 years in the Denver startup and business world to offer mentorship, support and connections.

The bottom line: "We just want great ideas and great people and people who we can help," Gellman said.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Denver stories


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more