Musicians the world over miss out on over $1B a year in royalties because there has historically been no single, secure way to track their contributions to music. As a young minority musician and music producer in Memphis, TN, Gebre Waddell was well aware of this towering problem and, notably, its impact on other minority musicians. He set out to provide a solution by founding our portfolio company Sound Credit, a platform that ensures all artists get the credit - and royalties - they deserve. 

Sound Credit is just one example from the Bee Partners’ portfolio of how diversity makes for strong portfolio companies. We know firsthand that healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive on diversity, inclusion, and equity. We recognize, value, and foster differences and a breadth of world views in our community and ensure that these characteristics inform our decision-making processes so those too are equitable and inclusive. 

We steadily focus on creating opportunities for underrepresented minorities to join the Bee Partners community. Since we last shared our data, we’ve continued on the path of building a richly diverse portfolio. Significantly, we have doubled the number of Black and Latinx founders in the Bee Partners III portfolio: they now make up a fifth of the companies invested in from that fund. 

The makeup of our portfolio, as of June 2023, is as follows:


We are a small and close-knit team with a deep commitment to our DEI principles. Partner Tim Smith and Principal Kira Noodleman especially make meaningful efforts to increase the number of women and minorities in the Bee community, Tim through his active participation in the National Black MBA Association, and Kira through Berkeley SkyDeck’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, multiple groups supporting both female and minority founders and her involvement in groups for women in venture capital.

In addition to actively seeking and supporting those from often marginalized groups to join our portfolio, we also encourage our portfolio companies to offer safe, healthy business environments for people of all races, ethnicities, abilities and gender identities, while encouraging our broader network to do the same.

Why does Bee Partners care about DEI?

While we are proud that our statistics regarding female founders and underrepresented founders are well above the Venture Capital industry averages, we also acknowledge that we still have a long way to go.

We know this effort will be a work in progress, but want to share our efforts and the steps we are continuing to take on all three fronts to build a better future for us all. 


We believe that our collective similarities and differences, in all the ways in which people differ, and all the characteristics that make one individual or group distinct from another make us all better. Our actions around diversity, include, but are not limited to:

  • Holding regular, mandatory bi-weekly diversity, equity and inclusion meetings to share best practices and key learnings, and identify future opportunities. (Need a D&I guide to help start the conversation in your organization? We used Lever’s Diversity and Inclusion handbook and highly recommend it. Here’s why.)

  • Rigorously tracking our dealflow statistics related to diversity, and discussing opportunities as a deal team. (Tim and Kira give priority to meeting requests for underrepresented minority founders. Shoot them a note to reserve a 15-min office hour time slot.)

  • Providing feedback and a clear reason for declines on all pitches. 

  • Supporting our portfolio companies in sourcing diverse candidates by providing best practices on inclusive hiring and tapping our own increasingly diverse networks to introduce women and underrepresented candidates.


We believe in recognizing the unique needs of each individual and the importance of ensuring that all can access the same opportunities with differentiated support, removing the predictability of success or failure that is correlated with any financial, social, or cultural factor used to marginalize or oppress individuals or groups. Our actions around equity include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing open access to anyone at Bee Partners by replying to every email that comes through all Bee Partners email addresses. 

  • Building a strategy that will increase the diversity of our dealflow, investor base, networks, programming, and portfolio.

  • Launching a national get-out-the-vote program to encourage election participation and highlight challenges to minority voters.


We believe in creating spaces that are safe and welcoming for all, with particular care for those who have been traditionally marginalized, such as people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ folx, people with disabilities, religious minorities, and those from low-income backgrounds. Our actions around inclusion include, but are not limited to: 

  • Mandating that all our term sheets include a DEI component section that advocates for unbiased hiring practices. (Below is the inclusion clause from our term sheet. Feel free to use and/or share it.)

    Bee Partners strives to invest in companies that are consciously working to create a diverse team, one that's inclusive across gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disabilities and national origins.  While we would never impose hiring decisions, we aim to reduce the potential impact of unconscious or conscious bias within a company. We therefore ask that the Company use its best efforts to: (i) incorporate  "inclusion" in its HR policies so that at least one woman and at least one member of a population currently underrepresented within the Company shall be formally interviewed for any open position; (ii) seek candidates for all positions from underrepresented populations by expanding sourcing methodologies;  (iii) minimize bias by anonymizing early phases of candidate review procedures; and (iv) within 90 days after the Closing, adopt and distribute to all employees, an inclusion and anti-harassment policy in form and substance approved by the Board.

  • Proactively discussing opportunities to ensure DEI is part of  the culture of our portfolio companies during our regular onboarding sessions with our founders.

  • Joining the #MovingForward initiative to promote inclusive and equitable startup fundraising.

Help Us Expand Our Networks

We’re always looking to connect with traditionally underrepresented founders. We also welcome introductions to traditionally underrepresented service providers we can vet for the Bee Bench. Please connect with us by any of our emails, or send a note to austin@beepartners.vc.

DEI Resources

#MovingForward, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing transparency and accountability of venture capital firms and angel investors around harassment and discrimination. More info here

Lever’s Diversity and Inclusion handbook