JPMorgan and entrepreneur-focused network Techstars announced the launch of a new accelerator program, aimed at investing over $80 million in diverse and underrepresented entrepreneurs across the U.S.

According to JPMorgan and Techstars, the new partnership aims to help bridge the racial and ethnic wealth divide, by providing early-stage entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups with access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, and customized programming. The companies cited research indicating that Black entrepreneurs received just 1.2% of U.S. venture capital funding in the first half of 2021, and Latino founders raised only 2% of U.S. venture funding last year.

Mäelle Gavet, CEO of Techstars, said:

“The data and experience show founders from diverse communities and backgrounds represent an untapped market with tremendous financial upside for investors, the entrepreneurs, and the communities they operate in. With J.P. Morgan, our goal is to be more intentional in the way our programs attract, support and invest in Black, Latino and other underrepresented founders.”

Under the new partnership, the companies expect to invest in over 400 companies through 37 Techstars programs in 9 U.S. cities, beginning now with Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, and Washington D.C., and launching next year in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Oakland.

Kristin Kallergis Rowland, Global Head of Alternative Investments at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, said:

“Together with Techstars our goal is to improve access to the capital and other resources needed by underrepresented entrepreneurs to start, fund, and then scale their businesses.”

The partnership follows the launch of JPMorgan Chase’s five-year $30 Billion Racial Equity Commitment in 2020, aimed at helping advance racial equity in the U.S. and close the racial wealth gap among Black, Hispanic and Latino communities through a series of financing initiatives. In October, JPMorgan reported that it had nearly reached the halfway point to the program’s goal, deploying or committing more than $13 billion in financing and funding in its first year.

Tiffany Lewis, Head of Diverse Manager Strategy at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, said:

“The multi-year program will focus on entrepreneurs and founders that have been overlooked by traditional venture capital sources. This new commitment will advance the shift toward more equitable economic opportunities through access to financial services, mentorship, quality education and training, and promoting inclusive business practices.”