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Henri Pierre-Jacques of Harlem Capital breaks down his investment decision process

Learn how he and his team choose companies in Episode 5 of our podcast, "Off the Sidelines."

Henri Pierre-Jacques. (Courtesy photo)

This podcast series is produced in partnership with Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS.

Change has come slowly to the demographics of private company investing.

About 2% of venture capital professionals are black, and who gets funded tends to reflect who’s doing the funding.

Early in his career as an investor committed to supporting minority- and women-owned companies, Henri Pierre-Jacques concluded he needed to take a more independent path as opposed to joining an existing established firm. Instead, he and his colleagues founded Harlem Capital, starting the fund from scratch to create the type of change they saw as necessary in the industry.

While setting out on their own gave the Harlem team the freedom and flexibility to invest in whomever they wanted, their independence also came with less of a safety net and a greater need for increased research and due diligence. Despite pledging to invest in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years, they have demonstrated a savvy and careful approach to selecting their companies that shows a keen awareness of the elevated risk involved.

This process made him an interesting contrast to some of our other interviews for “Off the Sidelines,” an investor education podcast produced by us at in partnership with Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS.

Project Entrepreneur shares with Harlem Capital the goal of advancing inclusive capital and diversifying the pipeline of investors and supporters, and all approaches are welcome to that end. While some of our guests have spoken to the importance of gut and instinct, Pierre-Jacques described himself as more “business-market based.” As a prospective investor, your own strategy is entirely up to you, but you can learn from Pierre-Jacques and our other guests about what’s worked for them.

Listen to the episode below to hear our conversation with Pierre-Jacques and find out what factors play into his investment decisions.

Off the Sidelines — Ep 5 — Henri Pierre-Jacques of Harlem Capital


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