From Business to Broadway: Promoting Minorities with Lorenzo Thione
“My life has been marked by the desire to bring more [minority] representation to the world,” declares Lorenzo Thione, Managing Director at Gaingels, a venture capital group investing and supporting LGBTQ+ founded and led startups.
Gaingels is the world’s most active venture syndicate investing in companies that embrace LGBT leadership, diversity, equality, and inclusion. SolidBlock is one of the more than 800 companies in Gaingels’ portfolio, including 50+ Unicorns, that have received over $500M in investments since 2019.
Lorenzo is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for the intersection of technology, art, design, communication and social value, as he explained to BlockSolid podcast host Yael Tamar in their recent interview.
Blockchain technology appeals to Lorenzo as a way to help companies “optimize for diversity.” “Anytime there is a technology that disrupts the status quo and that is directly aimed at creating an access that is unfettered and universal to a certain investment asset class, the ones that are going to benefit from that the most are the ones that have the fewest opportunities to access assets,” he suggests. “Companies that are inclusive bring a fresh mindset to their practices which leads them to be more nimble, more agile, and more competitive.”
Lorenzo promotes this philosophy of inclusion in every aspect of his life from business and capital allocation to Broadway. In 2008, Lorenzo had the good fortune to meet George Takei, an American actor, author and activist known for his role as Sulu on Star Trek. George was born to Japanese-American parents, with whom he lived in US-run internment camps during World War II. This experience led Lorenzo to work with George on creating a musical about George’s experience called, Allegiance.
“Visibility and representation are the most powerful forces for people to take up,” says Lorenzo. “Thanks to the work that we’ve done, people now know that when [George] was a child, he and his family were imprisoned in camps in the United States for no crime other than the fact that they were descended from the same population that had just declared war on the US and attacked Pearl Harbor. We imprisoned and interned and deprived of Liberty and assets and homes and jobs, 120,000 people, many, many, many of whom were actual citizens of the United States.
“And it took decades to rectify it and apologize and issue reparations and all of that. And when I met George and learned about history and how much it affected his own family and how, despite that, his outlook on life and on the country and on its future, was so optimistic, I felt like that was a story that people needed to hear and relate to and learn from.”
At the time, Lorenzo was a recent immigrant to the US, which made the experience all the more pertinent.
“It’s only when you actually see yourself reflected into a future you hope for, or dream through the eyes of someone that looks like you, or that maybe comes from the same country, or that has those same experiences that you know it’s possible [to succeed],” he explains.
In business as in life, Lorenzo is committed to making a difference.
Click here for the full interview on the BlockSolid podcast with host Yael Tamar.