Meet Ben Stokes
Class of 2023 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
Pronouns: He, Him
Who or what inspires your leadership purpose? And why?
I am the collective vision of living a life of authenticity and am inspired to prove to those who believed in me and saw my potential their investment in me was worthwhile. Whether it was an investment of time, money, love, mentorship or an introduction given, I’ve been afforded many opportunities and offered much in the way of grace to step beyond just survival, and can instead confidently thrive as my most authentic self.
Through early access to venture capital, Chasing Rainbows provides overlooked and underestimated LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs a hand up, not a handout, to create innovative companies. ~Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes is the Founding Partner of Chasing Rainbows. This pre-seed investment fund invests in LGBTQ+-founded companies to level the playing field in ensuring greater access to capital for underrepresented founders. An emerging fund manager with both startup and corporate experience, Ben has been a driving force in creating opportunities for LGBTQ+ founders to get early funding. He was named in the top 100 Investors for 2022 by Alumni Spotlight and was recognized by the NVCA, as one of the top LGBTQ+ investors making an impact. In addition, Ben has spoken at the UN General Assembly on Living with Purpose, has been a guest speaker for the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Centre, and in 2021 gave the Graduation Address for his Alma Alter after being awarded Young Alumni of the Year for the University of Tasmania. On top of this, Ben sits on several NFP boards, including co-chairing StartOut’s Investor Board. He also mentors through several organizations, assisting founders in navigating the road to entrepreneurial success.
Before founding Chasing Rainbows, Ben founded SocialTable, a social platform used on every continent. Using his lived experience as an LGBTQ+ founder of color, he has been an active angel investor in companies led by underrepresented founders. He has fostered a number of underrepresented start-up founders through to their exit or next investment phase. He was a mentor at the Australian Landing Pad in San Francisco, assisting Australian founders who take their start-ups and scale-ups global. Ben has an Executive MBA, attended UC Berkeley’s Venture Capital Program and was selected to be part of both the StartOut Growth Lab, a start-up incubator in San Francisco, and RBL1, based in Austin. Recently, Ben was awarded Venture Capital Journal’s 2023 40 under 40.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Ben Stokes worked at Oracle and Salesforce. Ben grew up on a farm on the North-West Coast of Tasmania after being adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka by a loving Tasmanian family. Ben’s mission is to help create a world built on radical inclusivity, where diversity of knowledge and experience is celebrated. It is the cornerstone of the vision of his fund, Chasing Rainbows.
To learn about more leaders recognized by BEQ Pride, visit https://businessequalitymagazine.com/MoreLeaders
To connect with this leader, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/bpstokes