October highlighted our work in creating bottoms-up opportunities for immigrant communities

Unshackled Ventures
4 min readNov 6, 2023


During the course of a single week, Unshackled’s founding partners were invited to speak at two distinguished events in collaboration with the U.S. Treasury. From NYC to Washington, D.C., we found ourselves at the epicenter of critical conversations about the future of entrepreneurship, venture capital, and the American dream. These events not only reaffirmed our approach but also illuminated the potential within immigrant communities.

A twice-in-a-generation opportunity from the U.S. Treasury

On October 19, 2023, nearly 100 cross-sector leaders, including Limited Partners, emerging venture capital fund managers, State and Federal Government officials, and philanthropic and nonprofit leaders, gathered in New York City. The goals of the convening were deep diving into the state of the venture capital industry and highlighting the role a new paradigm of fund managers can play in shaping a more prosperous future for the excluded and unrecognized.

A major anchor for the day was the $10B currently being deployed from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) into 56 States and U.S. Territories. SSBCI is a program designed to increase entrepreneurs’ and fund managers’ access to capital, with $3B allocated for venture capital investments. Unshackled was the first fund to secure capital from California’s $1.1B SSBCI allocation.

In a room of powerhouses, our very own Nitin Pachisia had the honor of speaking on a panel alongside Derrick Tang from IBank California and Chavon Sutton from Cambridge Associates to discuss the historic collaboration. Also speaking that day were industry veterans Lo Toney from Plexo Capital and living legend JoAnn Price from Fairview Capital, who shared their wisdom and experiences in venture. The day included an incredible all-women LP panel featuring Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson from Include Ventures, Sara Zulkosky from Recast Capital, and Hillary Cook from Next Legacy Partners, highlighting how diverse emerging fund managers have been and continue to outperform their peers.

U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Freedman’s Bank Forum

Less than a week later, Manan Mehta spoke at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s annual Freedman’s Bank Forum, an annual conference where public and private sector leaders convene to discuss ways to close the historical and persistent racial wealth gap in America. The day was keynoted by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo. The event also featured senior Biden-Harris Administration officials, including Vice President Kamala Harris and key leaders from the public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. The conference highlighted the Administration’s efforts to increase economic opportunity for communities of color and continue to close the racial wealth gap.

U.S. Representative and Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, delivered poignant words and introduced Manan’s panel. Moderated by Interim President of the Brookings Institution, Amy Liu, Manan was joined by Optus Bank President and CEO Dominik Mjartan and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce Don Graves, the panel was centered around the conversation of scaling underserved businesses through capital and ecosystem support.

When discussing the outcomes of backing underserved and overlooked immigrant entrepreneurs, Manan emphasized the untapped national advantages that arise from betting on their potential, “Many of our immigrant founders are working in industries that are critical to American success. Whether it’s in energy, defense, generative AI, logistics, transportation, the food supply chain — We have an immigrant-founded company in every one of those categories.”

Noted in the discussion was also the importance of risk appetite at the earliest stages. Unrealized potential for immigrant founders often stems from a lack of friends and family capital. At Unshackled, we’ve always known that to serve and support our community properly, we need to start at the earliest stages of company formation — The inception stage. Through partnerships and initiatives, like California’s IBank SSBCI program, we are seeing the opportunity that is unlocked when the government and private sector unite at the earliest stages.

As we gather at events like the Freedman’s Bank Forum, we carry the responsibility to reflect on the historical significance and continued legacy of the Freedman’s Bank — Once a beacon of hope for newly emancipated African Americans after the Civil War, it served as a continued reminder on the importance of working together to break down existing barriers in the pursuit for economic equity. As Manan highlighted, “The difference between success and failure is not what you know, it’s who you know and when. Emboldened in that is community.”

At Unshackled, we put the ladder down so that the next entrepreneur can have their shot at building an extraordinary business. Every day, we are lucky to support some of the brightest and courageous founders working today. They’ve come to us from 32 countries, and every conceivable background. They show up with a story and a pitch, and it’s our job to help them write their next chapter as leaders and entrepreneurs.

About Unshackled Ventures: Unshackled Ventures is the only early-stage venture capital fund that enables unrecognized and excluded immigrant founders to start companies in the U.S. Since its founding in 2014, Unshackled has proven its thesis that investing and supporting this population drives strong investment returns across key industries, including American infrastructure, generative AI, healthcare, space, and enterprise SaaS. To date, the firm has invested in 80 companies and over 200 entrepreneurs.



Unshackled Ventures

Pre-seed fund dedicated to investing in and unlocking opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs.