NVCA Board Member and CEO of JumpStart Inc. Ray Leach Will Drive Discussion on Diversity and Access to Venture Capital Today
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today announced that the NVCA Diversity Task Force will participate in the 18th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit in New York, NY. Formed by current and past NVCA board members in 2014, the NVCA Diversity Task Force is focused on increasing inclusion in venture capital firms and venture capital-backed companies in collaboration with peers and communities across the ecosystem.
NVCA Board Member and Diversity Task Force Member, Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart Inc., will participate in a panel discussion about diversity and access to venture capital at 4:30 pm on Tuesday, January 13 at the Summit. The discussion will be led by Robert Johnston of the New York Venture Capital Association and will include Peggy Wallace, Managing Partner of Golden Seeds, Jeanne Sullivan, Co-Founder of StarVest Partners, and David Teten, Partner with ff Venture Capital. The Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Economic Project Summit annually convenes leaders from an array of industries, including financial services, technology companies, multinational corporations, venture capital firms, government and manufacturing to promote equal opportunity for diverse groups of entrepreneurs, employees, investors and consumers.
Leach was elected to the NVCA Board of Directors in 2011 and leads JumpStart Inc., a nationally recognized nonprofit focused on accelerating the successes of diverse entrepreneurs, their high growth companies and the ecosystems that support them since 2004. Leach also served as a founding member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship convened by the U.S. Commerce Department in 2010.
“Diversity is a competitive advantage. NVCA stands side by side with every entrepreneur, investor and leader committed to advancing inclusion in the venture capital and innovation ecosystem,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “We welcome the opportunity to foster dialogue and connection alongside the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and other industry leaders. Together, we can increase opportunities for diverse groups of men and women to grow transformative ideas into high-impact companies.”
“The venture capital industry has an opportunity, and significant incentives, to increase its diversity to the benefit of the broader ecosystem. While accessing venture capital can be challenging for individuals of all backgrounds, we are committed to finding solutions that enable more African Americans and Latinos to play a significant role in the venture capital ecosystem in 2015 and for years to come,” said Jumpstart’s Leach.
As the voice the venture capital industry and its nearly 400 member firms, NVCA advocates for public policies and practices that support the growth of the entire innovation ecosystem. Increasing diversity of venture capital firms and venture-backed companies is a core part of achieving NVCA’s mission. Over the past few years, NVCA has discussed the importance of diversity at its events as well as conducted research to quantify the baseline related to diversity of the venture-backed entrepreneurial ecosystem and track progress going forward. The NVCA Diversity Task Force is focused on developing meaningful, long-term solutions to support diverse current and next-generation venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
The NVCA Diversity Task Force members include Kate Mitchell of Scale Venture Partners (Co-Chair), Ashton Newhall of Greenspring Associates (Co-Chair), NVCA Board Chair Scott Sandell of New Enterprise Associates, NVCA Chair-Elect Jon Callaghan of True Ventures, Sue Siegel of GE Ventures, Maria Cirino of .406 Ventures, Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures, Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz, Ray Leach of JumpStart Inc., Art Pappas of Pappas Ventures, and Terry McGuire of Polaris Partners.
More information about the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit is available at www.rainbowpushwallstreetproject.org