The Industry Steps up with NVCA to Address Sexual Harassment in VC

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Bobby Franklin

Last month, we issued a call to action, requesting that anyone who wants to be part of NVCA’s efforts to address sexual harassment in venture capital join with us to develop a plan of positive actions. The response has been encouraging, and we are grateful for everyone who has taken the time to submit their thoughts and recommendations or raised their hand to work directly with us.

In addition to crowdsourcing recommendations via our web form, we are actively engaging in direct conversations with a broad swath of individuals, organizations and interested stakeholders from across the ecosystem to solicit their thoughts and ideas. Over the last several weeks, I have spoken to GPs, LPs, entrepreneurs, academics and, most importantly, many of the women who bravely came forward to share their unsettling stories. They also have shared their thoughts on what positive actions should be taken. Collectively, all these recommendations generally fall into three broad buckets: 1) Policies and Best Practices, 2) Training and Education, and 3) Reporting Capabilities. (more…)

We want YOU to help us root out sexual harassment and create a safe and welcoming venture industry

by & filed under Diversity.

Bobby Franklin

Four weeks have passed since news first broke of incidents of sexual harassment by a member of the venture community.  Since then, several other instances of inappropriate behavior involving individuals from our industry have come into the spotlight.  As much as it pains me to say this, this is probably not the end but the beginning.  Other brave women are likely to come forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and mistreatment.

Their bravery for stepping out of the shadows should be applauded.  As a husband and father of three including a young daughter, I would never wish for this to happen to them, just as I would never wish for this to happen to anyone that has been mistreated.  However, if their bravery leads to real change in our industry, let it not be in vain.  This is an opportunity to take the necessary steps towards a better future for venture capital.  Let’s seize it. (more…)

No Room for Harassment in our Industry

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Bobby Franklin

In the past several days, the brave testimonials of Niniane Wang, Susan Ho, and Leiti Hsu have drawn a sharp focus on the unacceptable sexual harassment and misconduct of Justin Caldbeck. This behavior has no room in our industry and opened a critical discussion about how we can work together to make systemic changes to ensure that anyone working in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is not subjected to this type of behavior in the future. NVCA strongly condemns sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination of any form.

Leaders in the industry have come forward with action-oriented perspectives about how to advance inclusion and end harassment in the venture ecosystem. While there may be disagreement and debate on the most productive approaches, there should be no debate about the end goal. (more…)

Emerging Managers are Pushing the VC Industry Forward

by & filed under Diversity, Ecosystems, NVCA Blog.

Devin Miller

The formation of new venture capital funds is critical to the future of innovation. What does it take to become a venture capital investor? Emerging managers—teams raising their first venture capital funds—face myriad challenges in the process of getting their first funds off the ground. Which limited partners should Emerging Managers target? What are the best approaches to developing and articulating an investment thesis? How can fund managers approach building a top-flight team of investors, advisers and experts? Very few succeed. According to the 2017 NVCA Yearbook, commitments to venture capital funds reached a ten-year high, with 253 venture capital funds raising 41.6 billion last year. Of all funds raised in 2016, only nine percent were first-time funds. (more…)

Fostering Talent, Competitiveness and Diversity through Mentorship

by & filed under Corporate Venture, Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

A thriving innovation ecosystem depends on building diverse and competitive teams. Competing for top talent is one of the biggest challenges facing venture capital and corporate venture capital teams. These challenges beg the question: How can venture investors keep up with the increased demand for top talent? Mentorship programs are one of the proven ways to attract and retain top talent, which foster both individual talent development and team competitiveness, diversity, and development.

This year, the NVCA Corporate Venture Group (CVG) launched the Corporate Venture Mentorship Program in the first quarter of 2017 to build connections between experienced and new corporate venture investors. This pilot program helped forge new connections among corporate venture investors across the country to foster a more engaged innovation ecosystem. (more…)

Having a Talent Strategy Makes a Difference

by & filed under Diversity, Events, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

Diversity is core to competitiveness. A 2014 Harvard Business School study, The Cost of Friendship, found that success rates of entrepreneurs diminish when co-investors have similar backgrounds and experiences. As an industry, we have a lot of work to do, and NVCA is committed to helping investors and entrepreneurs build diverse, competitive teams.

Last week, the NVCA team, our members, and partners Deloitte, Proskauer Rose, Silicon Valley Bank, Miller Law Group and the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center joined together to host Policies Driving Innovation in San Francisco to provide data, insights and resources. We also rolled out the new NVCA Sample H.R. Policies – a free resource to help venture firms build inclusive H.R. practices. (more…)

NVCA-Deloitte Human Capital Survey: A New Approach to Diversity & Inclusion Research

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog, Research.

Jessica Straus & Maryam Haque

We just released our diversity study. Our study is different. We set out to survey all VC firms active in the U.S. to establish a benchmark of the current demographics of the industry and to take a closer look at firms’ talent management practices.

If you’ve spoken with a member of the NVCA staff over the past two years or one of our Board Members, the topic of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the venture capital industry has likely come up. Since the launch of NVCA’s Diversity Task Force in December 2014, NVCA staff, its Board, and its members have focused on building a more inclusive innovation ecosystem. In our report Building a More Inclusive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem this summer, we outlined many proactive NVCA efforts and industry resources, highlighted a few firms who are leading the pack in terms of diversity initiatives, and referenced third-party data on D&I in VC. (more…)

Highlighting the Importance of Diversity During National Entrepreneurship Month

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

This November is National Entrepreneurship Month, a month dedicated to celebrating and supporting the entrepreneurs who serve their communities and strengthen the U.S. economy.  Supporting greater opportunity for more entrepreneurs to grow new ideas into companies is central to the mission of NVCA.  In addition, we believe diversity and inclusion are core to the success and competitiveness of the industry.

In honor of National Entrepreneurship Month, NVCA is participating in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy National Entrepreneurship Month Fact Sheet to highlight how NVCA members are working together to support an inclusive, diverse and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Read the White House Fact Sheet.  We also want to take the opportunity to provide an update on our work to support diversity and inclusion. (more…)

Diversity is Core to Competitiveness: A Report On Actions Across The Ecosystem

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog.

Jessica Straus

This week we issued our first-ever report on diversity and inclusion in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Building a More Inclusive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, showcases the efforts being made to improve diversity in the venture capital industry.  There is still a great deal of work to be done to expand the number of women and underrepresented minorities in venture capital firms and startups.  Our report focuses on the actions.  By showcasing what NVCA members, entrepreneurs and nonprofits are doing in their firms and in their communities, we want to share and promote ideas that can inspire action. (more…)

Believeland: How Collaboration and Inclusion Drive Innovation in Ohio

by & filed under Diversity, NVCA Blog, Venture Investment.

Jessica Straus

“Welcome to Believeland!,” was the enthusiastic greeting from Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart, Inc., to an audience of entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, nonprofits, foundations, government entities, universities, and corporations, who were among the hundreds gathered for JumpStart, Inc.’s Second Annual Startup ScaleUp event in Cleveland.  (more…)