Commitment from over 40 venture capital firms to support inclusive innovation announced at White House Demo Day
WASHINGTON, DC – Forty-five venture capital firms representing over $100 billion in assets under management invested in nearly 7,000 startups across 45 states today announced their commitment to advancing opportunity for women and underrepresented minorities in venture capital and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Led by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Diversity Task Force, the commitments were announced in a letter to President Obama as part of the first-ever White House Demo Day, which is bringing together diverse entrepreneurs and other key stakeholders from across the ecosystem to convene and showcase the innovation economy.
“A thriving innovation economy depends on the contributions of women and men of diverse talents, ethnicities and backgrounds. At the first-ever White House Demo Day, over 40 venture capital firms have committed to support the aspirations of diverse innovators, an important step in the journey toward building a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “NVCA and our Diversity Task Force are committed to both near- and long-term solutions to effect positive change that will support diverse entrepreneurs and investors who aspire to build ideas into companies.”
NVCA Diversity Task Force member firms Scale Venture Partners, Greenspring Associates, Polaris Partners, True Ventures, .406 Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, JumpStart, Inc., Pappas Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and GE Ventures were joined by Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, New Atlantic Ventures, IBM Venture Capital Group, SoftTechVC, North Bridge Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, Maven Ventures and many others in signing the letter.
Together, these 45 firms commit to taking the following actions:
- Distribute and participate in the National Venture Capital Association’s 2015 Venture Census survey led by NVCA, Dow Jones VentureSource and CrunchBase to measure the diversity of the U.S. startup ecosystem. The results will be made public in the fall of 2015.
- Adopt HR policies within their firms to create work environments that foster respect and dignity for all. In addition, they will immediately explore and develop a forthcoming set of NVCA model HR policies.
- Contribute regularly and actively to programs and initiatives that encourage women and underrepresented minorities to consider, pursue and thrive in venture capital and entrepreneurship careers.
- Commit to visible leadership by sharing regularly within their community and throughout their portfolio the best practices that demonstrate a long term commitment to change.
Several firms also provided specific actions their partnerships will take to advance diversity. Greenspring Associates and Scale Venture Partners are committing to adopt the “Rooney/Murray Rule” for the interview processes to ensure a diverse slate of candidates is considered. True Ventures created the Priya Haji Fellowship in 2015, a nine month fellowship program for new college graduates. NCT Ventures will announce the results of its research on minority entrepreneurs to give measurable quantitative and qualitative insight into barriers to accessing capital among minority business enterprises.
The NVCA Diversity Task Force launched in 2014 to develop meaningful solutions to support diverse groups of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in order to build a stronger innovation ecosystem for the 21st Century. The Diversity Task Force is currently developing solutions and resources to empower venture capital firms as they seek to contribute to expand opportunity for women and under-represented groups in the startup economy. The first solution set will be announced in the fall.