The first-of-its-kind Fellowship Program for diverse-founded pre-seed and seed-stage start-ups and board candidates is open for applications through September 1
UBS and The Fourth Floor, a market network dedicated to getting more women on boards and cap tables of companies of all sizes, today announced the launch of The Fourth Floor x UBS Fellowship Program to support 50 BIPOC-founded pre-seed and seed-stage start-ups and up to 120 diverse board candidate fellows. UBS also joins as The Fourth Floor’s most recent Greater Impact Partner, committed to advancing at least 170 for profit board careers for women through the Pay It Forward Initiative.
The U.S. market continues to lose out on $4.4 to $4.5 trillion annually by not adequately investing in women and BIPOC VCs.1 These numbers come on the heels of a five-year high in VC funding.2 Even so, Black-founded start-ups saw just 1.3% of all venture and growth equity financing in 2021,3 and Latinx founders saw 2% of all U.S. venture capital investments.4 The lack of funding not only creates significant financial barriers, but points to broader systemic challenges facing early-stage BIPOC and women founders, including lack of access to key advisors and strategic resources.
The newly launched Fellowship Program will focus on building out and leveraging advisory and early-stage governing boards and connecting BIPOC founders to a deep bench of vetted advisors to facilitate growth and funding opportunities. All start-ups considered for the Fellowship must be interested in adding at least one advisor, director, or observer to their advisory or governing boards.
“Our platform, supported by a digital board seat exchange, investment club, job board and membership community, powers an incentive framework designed to get more women in the boardroom and on cap tables, funded and writing checks,” said The Fourth Floor founder Breen Sullivan. “Considering UBS’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, we know they will be a perfect partner.”
Participating ventures will post advisory and governing board opportunities, recruit for, and be matched to diverse advisory board members, directors and observers by leveraging The Fourth Floor’s AI-powered Board Seat Exchange and pool of 900+ qualified candidates. Participating board candidates will have the opportunity to search for and be matched to over 700+ potential board opportunities with participating ventures and across all 500+ ecosystem companies.
“Creating strategic partnerships to support business owners, particularly at their early-growth stage, is a priority. And board diversity for these companies is a business imperative,” said Jane Schwartzberg, Head of Strategic Client Segments for UBS. “We’re excited to partner with The Fourth Floor to drive inclusive growth and expand opportunities for BIPOC and women founders through the Fellowship Program while furthering UBS’s mission to meaningfully engage all investors through their wealth journeys.”
Fellows will participate in cohort-specific programming during the year-long Fellowship Program, including a dedicated Board Boot Camp, four main events, and the UBS Monthly Matching Program, scheduled to run from October 2022 through May of 2023. Fellows will also have access to The Fourth Floor Job Board and resources. Board candidate Fellows and founders/co-founders of participating ventures who identify as women or non-binary will be invited to join The Fourth Floor private Membership Community of 1,450+ entrepreneurs, executives and investors. Membership includes access to exclusive programming, resources, templates, dedicated industry and professional forums.
The application period for interested ventures opens today, August 1, and will close on September 1. To learn more and apply today, please visit the website.
Notes to Editors
About The Fourth Floor
The Fourth Floor is a market network dedicated to getting more women on boards and cap tables of companies of all sizes – including startups – as a way to initiate or advance their board careers. The Fourth Floor also supports women and BIPOC entrepreneurs, angels, aspiring limited partners, and women-led funds through access to funding and growth opportunities by leveraging advisory and governing boards and the Back Room Investment Club. To learn more, visit http://thefourthfloor.co/home.
UBS convenes the global ecosystem for investing, where people and ideas are connected and opportunities brought to life, and provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as to private clients in Switzerland. UBS offers investment solutions, products and impactful thought leadership, is the leading global wealth manager, provides large-scale and diversified asset management, focused investment banking capabilities, and personal and corporate banking services in Switzerland. The firm focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their target markets, are capital efficient and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30% of its employees working in the Americas, 29% in Switzerland, 20% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 21% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs more than 72,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
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