Lyons first joined a16z in 2013 as chief of staff to co-founder Ben Horowitz before launching the Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF) in 2018. CLF is the first VC fund in Silicon Valley entirely made up of African American partners and connects Black creators and entrepreneurs with top technology companies.
The $18M fund has invested in 65 startups across several industries including crypto, fintech, healthcare, consumer, and enterprise. In return, 100% of the management fees and carry associated with the fund are donated to a select group of non-profits that share CLF’s mission. Lyons will continue to oversee the fund in his new role.
As a result of his work on the CLF, Lyons has also developed Silicon Valley’s first-ever “influencer network,” which aims to establish strategic partnerships between emerging tech companies and athletes, entertainers, musicians, and corporate executives.
Before working at a16z, Lyons worked in the music industry as a sound engineer for Grammy-award-winning producer Jermaine Dupri. He entered the tech world after launching PictureApp, a digital menu app that invited users to rate their restaurant dishes. A year before joining a16z, Lyons moved to Silicon Valley to participate in the NewME Accelerator, an accelerator for minority-based startups.
“I’m super fired up to officially announce becoming a General Partner at @a16z,” Lyons said in a Linkedin post. “This firm is way more than a venture capital fund, it’s my extended family and has been the ecosystem where I’ve shaped my personal and professional career.”
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