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Himalaya Rao-Potlapally

My journey into Venture Capital

I received my MBA from Willamette University and a secondary Masters in Social Work from Adelphi University. I have worked with seven different funds to diversify their portfolio investments with measurable outcomes. I also helped launch and manage two other funds; Angel Oregon Fund and Mid-Valley Angel Fund.

My passion for creating equitable capital and resource access to BIPOC founders has led me to co-found and become the Managing Director of Black Founders Matter. I am grateful that I get to spend my career redistributing capital to innovative and radically groundbreaking ventures. 

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Recent and Upcoming Events

I've had the pleasure of working with incredible partners pursuing inspiring missions. Click the upcoming events below to join me on the journey!

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US Senate Testimony

What a great honor to be invited by Senator Wyden to come present to the Senate Finance Committee on my work with Black Founders Matter.


Technology Association of Oregon

During this discussion, moderated by Himalaya Rao, Managing Director of the Black Founders Matter Fund, you’ll hear from the different startup founders about their methods of raising capital, successes and lessons learned, and where their businesses are headed next. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during a live Q&A at the end of the event.

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Technology Association of Oregon

Featured presenter with the Technology Association of Oregon. TAO is determined to create and unite a world-class innovation economy in Oregon. They are the force behind the regional tech industry— they support entrepreneurs and connect peers and decision-makers to establish the Northwest as a global hub for innovation

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Onward Eugene: EUG Launchpad

Collaboration with Onward Eugene to present a three-part workshop series within EUG Launchpad accelerator. Onward Eugene is a 501c3 who has a vision to create a thriving local economy that leads to inclusive prosperity. They host a number of programs in the local ecosystem including the RISE Leadership Institute and the EUG Launchpad.

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 Oyster Podcasts: Leadership Is No Accident

Though Himalaya Rao currently works as the Managing Director of the Black Founders Matter fund, in her view, her work could also be defined as social work. In her effort to find and uplift aspiring BIPOC entrepreneurs with her fund, Rao is working towards systemic change in the world of business and finance. Rao has spotted others’ untapped potential in countless moments throughout her life and career. It has all led up to now, where she has a huge amount of freedom to help black creators realize the potential that others may not have seen in them.

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VertueLab Fuel 2020 Conference

Panelist on Raising the Rounds: Emotion vs. content in your pitch. This was part of a broader series of workshops available through the Fuel 2020 Conference, put on by VertueLab. This nonprofit fights climate change by providing funding and holistic entrepreneurial support to Cleantech startups. VertueLab has been around for a decade with a proven model that accelerates climate solutions that are key to reversing the climate crisis.

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Oregon Entrepreneurs Network

Moderation of panel comparing the various accelerator, incubator, and co-working space models. Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) helps entrepreneurs start-up and scale up by connecting them to peers and mentors, startup funding opportunities, and hands-on training. A nonprofit, membership-driven organization with a 28-year track record, OEN is Oregon’s only organization that supports scalable startups from every industry across the state.

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"There is no roadmap for what I am doing. So every single day I am failing and also realizing my goals."

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