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Ed Zimmerman chairs Lowenstein Sandler’s Emerging Companies & Venture Capital practice (fka, The Tech Group), which he and Anthony Pergola co-founded in the 1990s. Ed has been a growth company, startup and venture/M&A lawyer for 30 years. Chambers, Best Lawyers, and other prestigious global directories consistently rank Ed among the leading lawyers both in New York City and nationwide in Startups & Emerging Companies, M&A, and Venture Capital.
Ed co-founded First Close Partners (see Wall Street Journal coverage) (2020), which invests into venture funds owned and run by underrepresented managers across the world, and The Historic Fund (a nonprofit supporting Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) by donating fully-funded LP interests in a portfolio of VC funds into HBCU endowments). Outside of First Close Partners, Ed has personally invested in 100+ VC funds and 150+ startups, predominantly in the US, Europe, and Africa. Ed serves as: an Adjunct Professor of VC at Columbia (since 2005), on the Wall Street Journal’s Panel of Experts (80 columns published), founder/Chair of VentureCrush (since March 2000), Interim Chair of the Board of Center for Policing Equity, and a Board member at Fisk University (an HBCU in Nashville, TN), Black Women Talk Tech, The Orchid Foundation, and, previously, Harvey Mudd College. Ed was an adjunct professor of law at Rutgers Law School (1990s and early 2000s). Ed has served as an advisor on VC matters to the President of France. Ed also serves on the boards and/or LPACs of several venture capital funds (all of which have impact as part of their mandate), including 2050 (Paris), The Historic Fund, and Ingressive Capital (Lagos, Nigeria), and as an advisory board member of Ada Ventures (UK).
Ed advocates on issues concerning racial equity, gender, the LGBTQIA+ community, reproductive rights, and gun control. In February 2014, Ed co-organized (with the Obama White House’s Liaison for LGBTQ matters) a summit of LGBTQ leaders in the tech community at the White House. He separately co-organized an event at the White House on the Future of Work & AI in 2016. In 2014 at VentureCrushNY, Ed announced a pledge against gender bias in tech, which he later published on The Wall Street Journal's Accelerators page, with subsequent coverage in Fortune magazine. In 2013, Ed published a column also on The Wall Street Journal’s Accelerators page, calling out bias in VC, noting a majority “of VCs had degrees from a small cluster of 10 schools … and a staggering 87% were Caucasian.” He published a companion Columbia University case study (2013).
Ed was profiled for his advocacy for gender and racial equity in several books, notably Erika Brodnock, Ph.D. and Johannes Lenhard, PhD, Better Venture: Improving Diversity, Innovation, and Profitability in Venture Capital and Startups (2023), Pulitzer Prize winner Joann S. Lublin's Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World (Harper Business 2016), Julia Pimsleur’s Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big (Simon & Schuster 2016). Ed’s (non-musical) contribution to the musical (political) collaboration “Put a Woman In Charge” between multi-Grammy winning musicians Keb’ Mo’ and Rosanne Cash was reported in Billboard Magazine (2018). He and his wife Betsy have written about music (Sister Rosetta Tharpe) in Forbes (2016), published a case study about the Blues (Columbia Business School, 2018), and profiled Nigeria-based VC Maya Horgan Famodu (Forbes 2020). Ed and Betsy were also profiled in the opening pages of George Taber’s In Search of Bacchus (Scribner 2013).
He was a board member of and, since 1994, has been pro bono counsel to New York Live Arts (formerly Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), which named Ed its 2018 Live Ideas Honoree. Ed was a New York Women’s Foundation 2022 honoree.