Much has been written about the challenges for underrepresented minorities and women in the corporate world; however, studies have also shown clear positive connection between diversity on boards and management teams and high company performance. But how does this translate to startups, where fundraising and early partnerships are highly dependent on relationships and “who you know” to get traction? When biotech VCs are overwhelmingly white and male, and studies show that investors (whether consciously or not) feel more comfortable investing in someone who looks like them, how do NTCs and founders navigate? How can they leverage their talents, unique stories, and sheer resilience to overcome these challenges? And when does it make sense to pursue alternative sources of funding, such as social impact investments funds? What resources are available to help? Through sharing their personal journeys and anecdotes, the panelists will present a provocative and honest picture of the challenges and opportunities they faced while building and funding their companies, as well as creative ways of finding alternative funding and/or minimizing cash needs to advance to key milestones. The panelists are all working on important areas of high unmet medical need, and are successfully moving their companies through the next key milestones.