ARLINGTON, VA – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today announced the formation of the NVCA Diversity Task Force to develop a clear and measurable path to increase opportunities for women and men of diverse backgrounds to thrive in venture capital and entrepreneurship. The NVCA Diversity Task Force is an initiative of the NVCA Board of Directors and will be led by current and former board members of the association. Through forums, research and programming, the NVCA Diversity Task Force will examine the lack of diversity in the venture capital industry and develop meaningful solutions to build a more inclusive, stronger innovation economy for the 21st Century.
The formation of the Diversity Task Force is part of an ongoing effort by NVCA to shine a light on the diversity imbalance in venture capital and the innovation economy. Most recently, NVCA brought the issue to the forefront at VentureScape 2014, its annual industry-wide conference in May. Kate Mitchell of Scale Venture Partners, Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners, Maria Cirino of .406 Ventures, Bob Brennan of Veracode, and Vivek Wadhwa of Stanford University led a deep dive session focused on addressing the gender imbalance in the venture capital industry to a broad group of investors. On the main stage, speaking to an audience of over 700, Wadhwa, Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures and Kara Swisher of Re/code led a discussion on diversity in venture and startups, each sharing their insights on making the innovation economy more inclusive of women and minorities.
As a continuation of these important discussions, the NVCA Diversity Task Force is committed to advancing the entrepreneurial aspirations of current and future generations. NVCA views greater inclusion in venture capital and the innovation economy as an ongoing effort toward long-term impact. In the near term, the Diversity Task Force will convene a series of public events in 2015 to solicit ideas from participants in the innovation economy on how best to foster greater inclusion in venture capital and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The future of innovation in the U.S. depends on supporting diverse groups of current and aspiring venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. As the voice of the venture capital industry, we have launched the NVCA Diversity Task Force because we are committed to charting a course to expand inclusion across the innovation economy,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA. “The greater the number of diverse investors and entrepreneurs at the table, the greater capacity we have as a nation to innovate and bring the best ideas to bear. Working alongside the many individuals and organizations focused on increasing inclusion, we look forward to these efforts helping ensure our innovation economy reflects the diversity of our nation.”
NVCA Diversity Task Force Members:
- Kate Mitchell (Co-Chair), Founder and General Partner at Scale Venture Partners
- Ashton Newhall (Co-Chair), Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Greenspring Associates
- Scott Sandell, General Partner at New Enterprise Associates and Chairman of the NVCA Board of Directors
- Jon Callaghan, Founder and General Partner at True Ventures and Chairman-Elect of the NVCA Board of Directors
- Maria Cirino, Co-Founder and Managing Director at .406 Ventures
- Venky Ganesan, Managing Director at Menlo Ventures
- Scott Kupor, Managing Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
- Ray Leach, CEO at JumpStart Inc.
- Terry McGuire, Co-Founder and General Partner at Polaris Partners
- Art Pappas, Managing Partner at Pappas Ventures
- Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures
NVCA serves as the definitive resource for research and data for the venture capital industry. In 2011, NVCA partnered with Dow Jones VentureSource to conduct its Venture Census survey of the ethnic, gender and educational backgrounds of venture capital investors. The findings of the survey provide a broad view of trends that reflect the both the overall contraction of the venture industry and the lack of diversity in the field.
According to the 2011 survey, 89 percent of investors were male and 11 percent were female. In terms of ethic diversity, 87 percent were Caucasian, nine percent were Asian, two percent were African American or Latino, and two percent were of mixed race.
The NVCA/VentureSource study also found that younger generations of venture capital investors, CFOs and administrators are increasingly more diverse than previous generations. The NVCA Diversity Task Force will examine and develop solutions to create broader access to opportunities in venture capital and entrepreneurship. Diversity is a competitive advantage for the U.S. As much as a lack of diversity can hinder success, greater inclusion enables the best ideas to receive funding, and within an organization, enhances productivity, employee retention and overall success.