Route Finding: The Parallels Between Venture & Rock Climbing

This is the first of a three-part series about Economic Sovereignty and the future Growth Warrior Capital envisions for a more prosperous world, with entrepreneurship as the driver.

Photo by Brook Anderson on Unsplash

For every rock climbing route, a brave soul came first to put it up so thousands of climbers could ascend after them.

The route finder is a visionary. Their purpose is to venture to remote places, discover new climbing routes and remove the barriers to access. And once they’ve spent hours finding a location, researching the topography and studying the views and vista, they put up the course — something special, something personal and something worthy of a name.

This challenging, life-risking task is for the most skilled and experienced climbers: they ascend without any bolts or guides. The route finder creates a path that others can climb safely, then maps out the path and shares it with the world so that other climbers can follow it and enjoy the experience with less difficulty.

Despite the risks they endure, the route finder puts up the climb anyway. It doesn’t matter to the climber if the adventure ahead is treacherous. They are willing to do it because of a craving to be the one who does it first, so those who brave the trek after them will ascend successfully with fewer obstacles in their way.

I think of myself as a route finder, but for entrepreneurs (although yes, I was an amateur rock climber, too).

I am a Black woman who spent years in Silicon Valley accelerating businesses and leading them to successful fundraises, scales and exits. Now I’m investing through Growth Warrior Capital, a Seed and Series A venture firm investing in dangerous technology companies led by diverse and female founders, building platforms that fundamentally change the way we work, earn, and build wealth.

Through Growth Warrior Capital, I am doing what route finders do — taking on the nearly impossible, and overcoming the obstacles to make it less perilous and more reachable for my community. And someday those same people who follow my path will do the same for their successors.

I call this Economic Sovereignty. Think of Economic Sovereignty as creating generational, sustainable wealth for oneself and one’s community. Women and people of color don’t have the same opportunities to become Economically Sovereign through entrepreneurship, by virtue of systemic inequities restricting access to networks and capital.

We are expanding who entrepreneurship is serving at Growth Warrior Capital by becoming the first-ever venture capital fund led by a woman of color to do the equivalent of climbing El Cap, Everest or Cerro Torre in Patagonia. My goal, by putting up a multi-pitch, challenging route, is that we create a ripple effect with the purpose of clearing the path and equipping others with the tools, beta (climber-speak for information you’d only get from actually climbing a route), and money they need to be successful.

I am driven every day by my desire to carve out the route for the entrepreneurs and investors who come after me so they don’t have to spend their time breaking bones in order to fit into a box that doesn’t serve them. I will continue to take this difficult path if that means those after me don’t have to.

I am at work route finding to create a more Economically Sovereign world that will in turn create systemic change and uplift communities, with entrepreneurship at the center. I invite you to join us. (And, don’t try any of this at home.)

For all the latest news and portfolio updates, follow @GrowthWarriorVC on Twitter and stay tuned for more updates on Medium.