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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Plexo Capital, founded by former Google Ventures partner Lo Toney to back early-stage VC funds led by women and underrepresented minorities, raised $42.5 million for its debut fund.

Why it matters: Despite many superficial displays of support for greater diversity among investor ranks, it's still tough VCs from underrepresented groups to raise funds.

  • "We look for any ways to be as flexible as possible to evaluate people's track records," Toney tells Axios.
  • This includes everything from track records working at a large firm, to angel investments, to putting together syndicates as some prospective managers many may not have enough personal wealth to cut personal checks.

The details: Plexo's investors include Alphabet, Intel Capital, Cisco Investments, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kapor Capital, the Hampton University Endowment, and the Ford Foundation. So far, it's backed 19 funds, including Base10 Ventures, Boom Capital, Female Founders Fund, MaC Ventures, Kindred Ventures, and Ulu Ventures. It's also made 14 direct investments into some of its funds' portfolio companies.

Go deeper: The (slowly) changing face of VC's next generation

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Hours-long reading of 628-page COVID relief bill delays Senate debate

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) forced Senate clerks to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, which took nearly 11 hours and lasted until 2:04 a.m. on Friday. The Senate is set to return at 9 a.m. to debate the bill before considering amendments, which could drag into the weekend.

3 hours ago - Health

Cuomo advisers reportedly altered July COVID-19 nursing homes report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Seth Wenig/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," the WSJ wrote.

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.