Serial Entrepreneur and LGBTQ+ Advocate Hernan Lopez Joins StartOut Board of Directors

SAN FRANCISCO, November 2023 – StartOut, the leading non-profit supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, proudly announces the appointment of Hernan Lopez (he/him) to its Board of Directors. A visionary entrepreneur, investor, and fierce LGBTQ+ advocate, Hernan brings a wealth of experience and passion to the mission of empowering queer entrepreneurs. 

Hernan is the Founder and former CEO of Wondery, a prominent podcast publisher acquired by Amazon in 2021. Under his leadership, Wondery became the largest independent podcast company, producing immersive storytelling shows such as Dr Death, Dirty John, and Business Wars. With 31 #1 shows on Apple Podcasts and numerous podcast-to-TV adaptations, Hernan’s contributions to the industry are immeasurable, building on his two-decade career in television.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hernan Lopez to the StartOut Board of Directors,” said CEO Brian Richardson. “His remarkable achievements, unwavering advocacy, and commitment to diversity inspire LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs worldwide. With Hernan on board, we are confident that StartOut will continue to empower queer entrepreneurs and foster a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Following the success of Wondery, Hernan co-founded Danvas, an innovative venture dedicated to merging digital art with the real world, through luxury LED displays and groundbreaking software that were exhibited at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Pace Gallery and recognized in Fast Company’s Innovation By Design awards. 

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Hernan is the Founder and Chairperson of the Hernan Lopez Family Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to promoting diversity in leadership from the demand side as well as the supply side. The Foundation advances its mission through targeted grants and a dedicated Fellowship program that has worked directly with 20 promising diverse professionals over the last three years. Hernan is also a former member of GLAAD and founding Governor of The Podcast Academy.

“Joining the StartOut Board of Directors is not just an honor;  it’s a profound commitment to championing the dreams of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs,” Hernan said. “StartOut is the leading force in shaping a more equitable future for queer founders and business leaders. I look forward to working with the Board to ensure this mission continues to flourish and that all entrepreneurs have the same resources to succeed.”

Just last year, Hernan was honored with our 2022 Trailblazer Award at the 11th Annual StartOut Awards.

Hernan’s appointment signifies a significant step forward in StartOut’s mission to support and elevate LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. His unique perspective, entrepreneurial insight, and passion for advocacy will undoubtedly shape the organization’s future initiatives, ensuring that queer entrepreneurs have the resources and support they need to succeed.

Nasty Pig Founders David Lauterstein and Fred Kearney to Receive the 2023 Advocate Award

Being an advocate isn’t just a title; it means living your values daily. Advocates believe in change and then work their magic, tearing down barriers, challenging preconceived notions, and paving the way for others to follow. 

This year, StartOut is ready to roll out the rainbow carpet to honor two advocates who have torn down barriers and changed the face of business and marketing for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs everywhere: David Lauterstein and Frederick Kearney, the couple behind the iconic Nasty Pig brand.

Nasty Pig was founded by David and Frederick (Fred) in 1994. When the two met in New York City, their shared passion for design and love of the LGBTQ+ community inspired them to start a clothing line that fearlessly celebrated queer sexuality – at a time when the AIDS epidemic continued to ravage our communities and queer sexuality was seen by many as a dangerous vulnerability for any new company. 

With an initial investment of fifty dollars without any business experience, the couple began buying fabric and making clothing for their friends in the underground club and leather scenes of the early nineties. David and Fred persisted, growing that fifty dollars into an international juggernaut, changing apparel companies’ approach when designing and marketing their products. Over the last 30 years, they have continued to give back to the community, regularly hosting fundraisers for LGBTQ+ organizations that support youth, people experiencing homelessness, and others. 

“Dave and Fred are a testament to the power of queer innovation, resilience, and drive,” said CEO Brian Richardson. “They challenged conventional wisdom, celebrated sexuality, and transformed an industry. Through every stitch and design, they empower everyone to embrace their unique identities unapologetically.”

Today, Nasty Pig is widely considered the original sex-positive queer sportswear brand. Lauterstein and Kearney, co-founders and husbands of 28 years, never lose sight of why Nasty Pig exists: to design clothing for the community they love and help their customers feel sexy and empowered.

For more information on the 12th StartOut Awards and our 2023 awardees, visit our website.
Are you interested in attending in person? Purchase tickets for October 12th here!’s Joseph Schneier Joins StartOut Board of Directors

StartOut is thrilled to announce that Joseph Schneier, a visionary leader in global education, healthcare, and insurance technology, has joined the StartOut Board of Directors. With over two decades of groundbreaking work, he’s been a trailblazer in shaping the future of care and support for our older adult population.

Since 2012, Mr. Schneier’s primary focus has been on the older adult population. Joseph founded three companies in this space—Cinematic Health, that trains CNAs, Home Health Aides, and Personal Care Assistants; BellAge (with James Firman, the former CEO of the National Council on Aging), a company working with Area Agencies on Aging on longevity initiatives; and a company focused on connecting sales, marketing, and member experience for the 150m Americans that receive insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, or Marketplace plans. 

“In the 20 years I have been working as an entrepreneur, I have had countless people and organizations help me along the way, including StartOut which was instrumental in the earliest days of my current company,” said Schneier. “I am so very proud to be able to join with them further the great work they do to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs at every step of their journey.”

Mr. Schneier has spoken at TedMed, Lake Nona, and JP Morgan Healthcare. He is a mentor at New York University, Wharton, Cornell, Bill and Melinda Gates Pivotal Ventures Longevity Program with Techstars, Northwestern Mutual Black Founders Program, CUNY and various other academic institutions.  Mr. Schneier sits on the board of AvanleeCare, a Caregiver company, The Sam and Devorah Foundation for Transgender Youth, Superbia Credit Union (an LGBTQ credit union), Stonewall Community Development Corporation (a non-profit focused on LGBTQ senior housing), and is a member of the LGBTQ+ Biden Council and the LGBTQ+ Queens District Attorney Council.

Inclusive LGBTQ+ Policies Improve Economic Outcomes, New StartOut Report Finds


New data and policy insights reveal how multiple states could have created thousands of jobs and raised billions of dollars in additional funding if they passed non-discriminatory laws.


September 26, 2023 (SAN FRANCISCO) – Today, StartOut released the 2023 State of LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurship Report, revealing how specific states and metropolitan areas could have achieved greater economic success if they implemented more inclusive LGBTQ+ public policies. 

Key public policy findings from the report reveal that between 2010 and 2020, there is very strong evidence that:

  • Texas could have created 121,000 additional jobs, and
  • Florida could have created 55,000 additional jobs

if policies like State Employee Benefits Coverage for Transition-Related Care were implemented.

  • Texas could recover $42B in funding,
  • Alabama could recover $10B in funding, and
  • Oklahoma could recover $10B in funding 

if policies like “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” Laws were repealed.

“Discrimination is harmful to people’s lives and local economies,” said Irene Tang, Director of Data and Insights at StartOut. “Previous studies have shown that areas with higher LGBTQ+ populations also have higher economic outcomes.”

“With the new report, we’ve taken this notion one-step forward by using a difference-in-differences analysis to provide evidence that anti-LGBTQ policies hurt their local economies,” Tang continued. “We analyzed 10 years of economic data, comparing states and metros that did and didn’t pass prejudicial policies to show that LGBTQ-exclusion policies harm entrepreneurship outcomes.”  

The 2023 State of LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurship Report gathered data from a variety of sources, including the StartOut Index, Crunchbase, and Pitchbook, to identify insights about LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. StartOut analyzed data from 142,000 startup founders and 95,000 companies that have raised at least $250,000 in funding between 2000 to 2022 to develop the report. 

Highlights from the report show that: 

  • Only 0.5% of the $2.1 trillion in startup funding was raised by LGBTQ+ founders, while nationwide, 7.1% of the population identifies as LGBTQ+.
  • LGBTQ+ founders created 36% more jobs, 114% more patents, and 44% more exits, despite raising 16% less funding compared to the average founder.
  • Of the funding raised by LGBTQ+ founders, 85% was raised in only five metros with San Francisco raising six times more than New York City or Los Angeles and 12 times more than Denver, CO, or Austin, TX. 
  • The largest metros without any LGBTQ+ founders are Orlando, FL, Charlotte, NC, and Birmingham, AL, all of which are located in states without comprehensive non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ+ people. 

“We’ve set out to measure not just the barriers and challenges facing these entrepreneurs, but the millions of jobs and thousands of life-changing inventions they are already creating across the U.S.,” said Dr. Vivienne Ming, inventor of the StartOut Index and Chair Emeritus of StartOut. “Even beyond those numbers, the StartOut Index maps the potential increase in jobs, innovation, and economic activity that come from passing state and local policies that celebrate how each of us add to our communities rather than how we conform.”



The report includes insights from the StartOut Index, an interactive resource that provides data on the landscape of investment in the LGBTQ+ community. The new policy feature in the index reveals how public policies impact entrepreneurship and jobs created. This data offers unprecedented insights for government officials, nonprofits, and economic decision makers, helping them identify key policy changes that can promote or hinder LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship and economic activity.

StartOut collected monthly entrepreneurial data from its own sources as well as Crunchbase and Pitchbook from 2000 onward.

To develop the StartOut Index’s policy feature, StartOut collected data for the years 2010 and 2020. Some data were aggregated through the decade for a cumulative value.  

To view the 2023 State of LGBTQ Entrepreneurship Report, please visit To learn more about StartOut’s methodology, please visit


About StartOut

Founded in 2009, StartOut, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest national organization to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with over 25,000 members nationwide. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of the LGBTQ+ community to drive its economic empowerment, building a world where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has equal access to lead, succeed and shape the workforce of the future. To learn more about StartOut, visit

About Socos

Socos Labs was created by Dr. Vivienne Ming after a career founding companies and nonprofits to overcome challenges in education, the workforce and health. Socos Labs is a mad science incubator that explores messy human problems. Socos experiments with whole new visions of work, education, innovation and inclusive economies to inform more human-centered policy. To learn more about Socos, visit

About StartOut’s Sponsors

This research was made possible by a grant from Comcast NBCUniversal.

If you’d like to contribute as a data partner, financial sponsor, researcher, or project contributor, you can reach StartOut at


Media Contact
Jonathan Ochart


inKind’s Johann Moonesinghe to Receive the 2023 Next Generation Award

By definition, the entrepreneurship ecosystem is focused on tomorrow. This is why every year, StartOut honors a forward-looking leader who is helping redefine tomorrow for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with our Next Generation Award. 

These leaders embody catalysts for change in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. They embrace diversity, collaborate across borders, and harness technology to address global challenges. They are not bound by traditional hierarchies but instead prioritize transparency, empathy, and inclusivity in their leadership styles. 

This year, we will honor Johann Moonesinghe (he/him) of inKind as our 2023 Next Generation Award recipient.

Johann is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with seed level investments in companies including Uber, Twilio and All Birds. He personally invested in 30 restaurants before founding and operating a restaurant incubator from 2015-2020 to help chefs run their businesses. 

“Johann isn’t just an entrepreneur and investor, he is redefining both entrepreneurship and investing for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said StartOut CEO Brian Richardson. “He enjoyed his own personal success as a founder, but is now using that experience to change the system. Johann is making sure LGBTQ+ founders and others have a real chance to create their own success. That’s leadership that transcends generations.”

As CEO/co-founder of inKind, he combines his finance experience, restaurant expertise, and passion for food. Under Johann’s leadership, inKind has funded over 1,000 restaurants with 450,000 users. inKind co-founder and Johann’s younger brother, Rajan Moonesinghe, was killed in November 2022. This tragic event has caused Johann to double down on the purpose of inKind – to help restaurant owners be financially sustainable. 

Earlier in the year, inKind committed to fund $250mm to independent restaurants, 75% of whom are minority, female, LGBT or veteran owned. Along with inKind funding, inKind provides technology, partnerships, and other support to ensure that the restaurants are successful.

For more information on the 12th StartOut Awards and our 2023 awardees, visit our website.
Are you interested in attending in person? Purchase tickets for October 12th here!

TomboyX’s Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez to Receive the 2023 Advocate Award

Being an advocate involves speaking up for those who can’t, challenging injustice, and working tirelessly to advance the rights, well-being, and interests of others. Advocates come from diverse backgrounds and fields, all united by their commitment to making the world better when others try and stand in their way.

Simply put, being an advocate takes guts.

This October, StartOut will present the 2023 Advocate Award to Fran Dunaway (she/her) and Naomi Gonzalez (she/her).

Fran and Naomi are the co-founders of TomboyX, a Seattle-based gender-neutral underwear and apparel brand launched in 2013. The brand started as a passion project to create the perfect button-up shirt before pivoting to focus on underwear based on the overwhelming demand for their first boxer brief for women. 

“Fran and Naomi have made a real difference in the lives of queer people,” said CEO Brian Richardson. “They saw an industry that was limited, so they changed it. They created TomboyX, and today queer people can find clothes and underwear made with us in mind, helping us all feel more confident, affirmed and whole.”

Fran and Naomi are driven by a belief that brands can be a force for positive change, and their messaging promotes a human agenda to inspire conversations about gender, confidence, acceptance, and inclusion. 

In 2021, TomboyX solidified the brand’s commitment to sustainability and community by becoming B Corp certified and completed the process for changing their corporate status from C Corp to Benefit Corp. TomboyX was one of EY’s Winning Women in 2017, was on Inc 5000 Fastest growing businesses list for 4 consecutive years and in 2019, Fran was named as one of Forbes’ 50 over 50. The duo still maintains partial ownership in the company but have a C suite running the day-to-day business in their stead.

For more information on the 12th StartOut Awards and our 2023 awardees, visit our website.
Are you interested in attending in person? Purchase tickets for October 12th here!

Journey Foods’ Riana Lynn to Receive the 2023 Innovator Award

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress and advancement in our rapidly changing world. It represents the creative spark that drives individuals, organizations, and societies to develop novel ideas, products, processes, and solutions to address challenges and improve the human experience. Whether through breakthrough technologies, inventive business models, or imaginative artistic expressions, innovators can reshape industries, enhance efficiency, and enrich our lives. 

This year, the 2023 StartOut Innovator Award will be presented to Riana Lynn (she/her).

Riana is an Austin-based neo-scientist, creative entrepreneur, AI-patent holder, and technologist that is focused on bringing better data to the world’s biggest food and supply chain problems. She leads the fast-growing software startup Journey Foods. The company is backed by top VCs in North America, Europe, and Asia. Riana has served as a top consultant and VC to Fortune 500 food and CPG companies. She’s currently an angel investor, creative director, and former Google Entrepreneur in Residence. Riana also enjoys growing fruit trees, writing film scripts, and exploring culinary and architectural heritage sites around the world.

“Riana Lynn is the definition of both innovator and entrepreneur – she identifies a problem before anyone else and works actively to create a new solution,” said CEO Brian Richardson. “Her success not only has made our food systems and world better, but also serves as an inspiration to LGBTQ+ founders, women founders and BIPOC founders nationwide.”

Riana has been featured in Forbes, MIT 35 under 35, and serves as World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer. In addition to her work as an entrepreneur, Riana Lynn is also a sought-after speaker and educator and has taught at institutions like Stanford University and Harvard University. She is a vocal advocate for the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. She has worked to inspire and support young people from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in technology and innovation. 

For more information on the 12th StartOut Awards and our 2023 awardees, visit our website.
Are you interested in attending in person? Purchase tickets for October 12th here!

StartOut and J.P. Morgan Unveil 12th Cohort of LGBTQ+ Owned Companies to Participate in Growth Lab Accelerator

Five-month program provides entrepreneurs with access to tools and resources needed for long-term success

NEW YORK — Today, StartOut and J.P. Morgan welcomed the newest cohort of ten innovative companies to the StartOut Growth Lab Accelerator. The five-month long program provides LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with networking, mentorship and education to support business growth and ensure equitable access to the resources and tools needed to compete in today’s business world.

Since 2017, sixty-six early-stage companies have participated in Growth Lab, raising more than $763 million in funding and creating more than 3,650 new jobs. The incoming cohort of companies encompasses a wide range of industries from sustainability to tech and healthcare, and spans across the United States, Canada and Mexico. As the co-lead sponsor of Growth Lab, J.P. Morgan provides the cohort with access to the firm’s network of global experts and resources.

“I am always struck by the level of innovation, determination and leadership that Growth Lab entrepreneurs bring to the table and can’t wait to see all that Cohort 12 will accomplish,” said David Barbee, Head of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, J.P. Morgan Commercial Banking. “These businesses are key players in our economy, creating jobs and developing unique products and services to support local communities. We are energized and excited to kick off this new cohort.”

The companies selected to join Cohort 12 are:

  • Applied Bioplastics (Austin, TX): Supplies economically sustainable plant-based plastic alternatives for a variety of items across household, automotive, appliance, electronic and outdoor equipment industries.
  • Hadley (West Hollywood, CA): Allows individuals to contribute to others’ 529 education savings accounts via an all-in-one app.
  • INSID3RS (Los Angeles, CA): Offers an all-access decentralized ticketing platform for immersive audience engagement.
  • JOBGRAZE (Tampa, FL): Provides a healthcare staffing marketplace and hiring platform for nurses and physicians in the U.S. and overseas.
  • Mazzy Health (Dallas, TX): Provides a mental health platform for teens and young adults, including teletherapy, academic coaching, parent updates, and live and on-demand events and resources.
  • Moss Amigos (San Jose, CA): Cultivates uniquely designed moss plants, accessible to any consumer, with or without a green thumb.
  • Motivo Scar Care (Long Branch, NJ): Creates inclusive, performance proof and water-resistant scar tape and topicals to heal and fade scars.
  • Orgmatch (Vancouver, Canada): Matches funders and non-profits with the goal of increasing the speed and equity of accessing and deploying funding in the nonprofit sector.
  • SARELLY SARELLY (Mexico City, Mexico): Provides an environment to help Hispanic Gen Z shoppers and trendsetters access luxury products and services.
  • WRKiiT (Oakland, CA): Aims to empower fitness instructors by providing a supportive platform for self-development, business growth and community building.

“While each company in Cohort 12 is tackling a unique challenge, they all share a common passion for breaking barriers and supporting wellness and equity in their communities,” said Brian Richardson, CEO of StartOut. “We are excited to once again work with the team at J.P. Morgan to provide mentorship and guidance to our entrepreneurs. We are honored to play a role in their exciting business journeys.”

To learn more about the StartOut Growth Lab, including details on the application process for the next cohort, visit:

For more information on the financial solutions available to guide business growth, visit:

Learn more about JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community at

About StartOut

Founded in 2009, StartOut, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest national organization to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with over 21K members nationwide. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of the LGBTQ+ community to drive its economic empowerment, building a world where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has equal access to lead, succeed, and shape the workforce of the future. StartOut helps aspiring LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs start new companies; supports current entrepreneurs as they grow and expand their existing businesses; and engages successful entrepreneurs as role models and mentors, on its online portal and through targeted events nationwide. For more information, please visit

About JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America (“U.S.”), with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.9 trillion in assets and $313 billion in stockholders’ equity as of June 30, 2023. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of customers in the U.S., and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at


Media Contacts

JPMorgan Chase
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Jonathan Ochart

A Joint Statement from LGBTQ+ Organizations on the Lawsuit Against Fearless Fund

August 24, 2023 – As LGBTQ+ organizations, investors, founders, and advocates, we proudly stand with Fearless Fund and share their commitment to equity, inclusivity, and empowerment. We know well the ways in which chronic underinvestment, bias, limited access to networks, and the lack of meaningful representation can limit success.  

This misplaced lawsuit underscores the very real challenges and entrenched injustices that so many face every day when pursuing strength, stability, and success. We support Fearless Fund in their essential work toward an entrepreneurship ecosystem – and society – that ensures opportunities for everyone to thrive.   


Brian Richardson Named StartOut CEO

Wasim Ahmad and Mohit Jolly elected Board of Directors co-chairs 


March 1, 2023 – StartOut, the national nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, today announced Brian Richardson as their new Chief Executive Officer.  With professional experiences spanning the non-profit, tech and public sectors, Brian will begin his new role on March 6. He will succeed Andres Wydler, who is stepping down after more than seven years, where he transformed StartOut from a small start-up into a national non-profit organization empowering LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. Under Andres’ leadership, StartOut connected over 40,000 members and through its founder programs directly supported 1,500 LGBTQ+ companies, helping raise $1.3 billion in funding and contributing more than $5.5 billion in economic value.

“I could not be more thrilled with our selection for StartOut’s next CEO,” said Chris Young, outgoing Chair of the StartOut Board of Directors and CEO Search Committee Chair. “Brian will bring his track record of success to build on StartOut’s legacy, ensuring even more LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs have the resources and access they need to turn their visions into reality.”

Brian most recently served as Director of Lambda Legal’s Midwest Region, leading the LGBTQ legal defense group’s work in ten states. While at Lambda Legal, he led the organization’s national strategic planning process and oversaw a record expansion of fundraising, staffing and programming across the Midwest. Brian previously served as Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Policy and Communications Manager at Google, National Spokesperson at the Democratic National Committee and as a teacher with Teach for America. Brian graduated from the University of Chicago and earned his MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.

“In order for LGBTQ+ people to be fully equal in our society, we must have full economic opportunity,” Brian said upon his appointment. “StartOut provides real opportunities for our community members to gain the access and resources necessary to realize our dreams. By providing economic opportunity for individuals – especially for those of us most often left out – we are building lasting economic justice for the entire LGBTQ+ community.”

Chris Young, outgoing chair of the board is terming out after eight years of engaging and effective leadership. Signature programs launched under Andres and Chris’s tenure include the Growth Lab accelerator, the Investor Portal, a national mentorship program and the StartOut Index, analyzing the impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs on the economy. Today, StartOut boasts more than 25,000 active members.

“Leading StartOut to success had been a tremendous honor. With a great team, dedicated board and countless volunteers, we have exponentially grown our impact,” Andres said. “I am confident that under Brian’s leadership the StartOut team will “10x” their impact again and scale our LGBTQ+ entrepreneur community to a point where economic justice is irreversible.”

In addition to the CEO appointment, the StartOut Board of Directors elected a new slate of officers including incoming co-chairs Mohit Jolly and Wasim Ahmad. Mohit is a seasoned executive with experience in corporate strategy, marketing and operations. He currently serves as the Senior Director for Google’s Global Ads Marketing Division. Wasim is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder with more than 20 years of experience in a variety of startups, and currently focuses on product at Vault12.

“I have seen firsthand how under-represented groups tend to have limited access to capital, mentorship and opportunities,” Mohit said. “StartOut’s work is even more important in this current environment where tech innovations like AI have the potential to either improve outcomes for under-represented groups or perpetuate the biases that exist in our society. That better future starts with StartOut, ensuring diverse entrepreneurs get equitable access and have a fair shot at building companies.”

“It is tough for LGBTQ+ founders to access capital, especially when starting out,” said Wasim. “Under Brian’s leadership, StartOut will grow its ability to educate founders and investors and open doors to capital, helping LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs create lasting economic impact in the world.”

“Chris Young has done a tremendous job as a Board Chair for StartOut,” Mohit added. “Over his two terms, he’s helped improve governance and recruited a diverse board to better represents the LGBTQ+ community that StartOut strives to serve.”

Visit our Team Page for a full list of current Board Members.

“We are proud to lead a Board of Directors that reflects the sheer dynamism, high impact and broad diversity of the LGBTQ+ entrepreneur community,” Mohit and Wasim continued. “We know that working together with our excellent new CEO and the talented StartOut staff, we can accelerate the impact StartOut is already having.”

“Over the last several years, I’ve watched StartOut grow and thrive, helping LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs grow and thrive,” Chris concluded. “With Brian, Wasim and Mohit at the helm – and exciting projects like the StartOut Index, Growth Lab and expanded program options – I know StartOut will continue to open the door for even more LGBTQ+ founders to make our world a better place for us all.”

Brian will begin his new role on March 6. To learn more about StartOut or to make a contribution to assist in their efforts, visit


Founded in 2009, StartOut, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest national organization to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with over 25K members nationwide. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of the LGBTQ+ community to drive its economic empowerment, building a world where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has equal access to lead, succeed, and shape the workforce of the future. StartOut helps aspiring LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs start new companies; supports current entrepreneurs as they grow and expand their existing businesses; and engages successful entrepreneurs as role models and mentors, on its online portal and through targeted events nationwide.