Billion-Dollar Equity Firm Partners With John Henry’s Harlem Capital for Diversity Initiative

Billionaires Henry Kravis and George Roberts tapped Harlem Capital Partners (HCP), a budding investment firm managed by four millennial men of color, to help their effort to increase racial and gender diversity at their private-equity firm, KKR.

On Tuesday, it was announced that KKR, a leading global investment firm with $200 billion in assets, teamed up with Harlem Capital to provide job opportunities for talented women and minorities in the investment management industry. As part of their partnership, Harlem Capital will give KKR access to its database of vetted candidates to help the global asset manager identify and recruit a diverse group of interns and employees.

“[Harlem Capital] can share insights on individuals beyond what I can get just by looking at a résumé, such as how they performed during the application process,” said KKR Human Resources Director Bola Osakwe to The Wall Street Journal.

The Harlem Capital partnership is the latest initiative in KKR’s multiyear effort to build a diverse employee base. The NYSE-listed firm also has an internal mentorship program designed to connect employees from diverse backgrounds with senior leadership in addition to a summer internship program that actively seeks female and minority M.B.A. students. “Having a more diverse workplace is a business imperative. In order to accomplish this, we know we have to adjust how and from where we are sourcing talent,” said Osakwe, who spearheads KKR’s global diversity and inclusion effort, in a press release.

According to the firm’s website, people of color make up about 41% of KKR’s total employee ranks in the Americas, while women comprise around 44% of the firm’s employees globally and 21% of its senior executives.

Launched in 2015, Harlem Capital is a New York-based venture capital firm that focuses on investing in early-stage startups led by women and minorities. Together, the firm’s partners—Brandon Bryant, Henri Pierre-Jacques, Jarrid Tingle, and John Henry, a confirmed speaker at the 2019 Black Enterprise FWD conference—aim to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years.

Harlem Capital] believes that the limited funding for underrepresented founders—less than 3% of all VC dollars—is due to the lack of diverse investors. “We are changing the face of entrepreneurship by investing primarily in disruptive startups founded by women and diverse entrepreneurs,” said Pierre-Jacques in a statement. “We are fortunate to launch this initiative with KKR, an industry-leading global investment firm that we admire,” added Tingle.


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