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Co-founder of Fearless Fund resigns from role as operating chief

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

Ayana Parsons has stepped down from her positions as general partner and chief operating officer of the Fearless Fund, an Atlanta venture capital firm she co-founded in 2019 with Arian Simone. Her decision comes amid legal challenges that reflect resistance to corporate diversity efforts benefiting women of color entrepreneurs.

Parsons clarified that her resignation is not linked to a lawsuit from a conservative group targeting a grant program for Black women entrepreneurs run by the Fearless Fund’s foundation. She continues as an investor in the Fearless fund she co-founded.

“I remain steadfast in my support of the Fearless Fund and committed to the advancement of women and people of color,” Parsons said in a statement posted to her LinkedIn page on Monday. “The best way I can do that is to boldly focus on new strategies and tactics. Because if the courts are going to sideline our best practices, we need to design and implement alternatives. We must innovate.”

The announcement came three weeks after a federal appeals court suspended the grant program due to a lawsuit by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, led by conservative activist Edward Blum. The court panel, in a 2-1 ruling, indicated the lawsuit alleging program discrimination is likely to succeed. Since 2019, the Fearless Fund has invested nearly $27 million in about 40 businesses led by women of color, supported by companies like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, and Mastercard. Companies backed include Slutty Vegan and Thirteen Lune, promoting beauty brands by people of color.

Simone the Fearless Fund’s co-founder said Parsons had “poured tireless hours into advising many of our portfolio companies.” she also stated: “We are sad to see her go and wish her only the best in her new endeavors”.

Parsons co-founded Yardstick Management with her husband, which they sold in 2023 after 11 years. Parsons said she will be working on her first book “and enjoying island life” with her family in the Caribbean “while continuing to fight for and embody freedom.”

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