VC Human Capital Survey

2022 VC Human Capital Survey 

Venture capital diversity, equity, and inclusion

Venture Forward, NVCA’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting organization, conducts on-going research on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the venture ecosystem through the VC Human Capital Survey. To stay up to date on the Survey and other DEI initiatives and resources, sign up for Venture Forward communications.

The VC Human Capital Survey—powered by NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte—aims to capture critical data on the workforce at venture capital (VC) firms, develop a baseline understanding of demographics within the VC industry, and uncover the current state of DEI across the industry. The survey is intended to be an educational resource for VC firms to understand how to expand the diversity of their teams and portfolio.

The survey collects firm demographic information for each employee at VC firms. Additionally, the survey collects information regarding firm talent management practices and DEI programs.

NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte surveyed active U.S.-based VC firms for the fourth edition of the Survey in August and September 2022. Survey results will be released in early 2023.

#VCHumanCapital Pledge

The 2022 VC Human Capital Survey is a component of the NVCA and Venture Forward #VCHumanCapital Pledge. 130+ VC firms have signed the pledge to show their commitment to the Survey and to advancing DEI in the industry.

As an industry, we can only improve what we track, measure, and report. 

Launched in 2016 by NVCA and Deloitte, the VC Human Capital Survey was designed to capture critical data on the workforce at U.S. venture capital (VC) firms, develop a baseline understanding of demographics within the VC industry, and uncover the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the industry. The Survey, now jointly produced with Venture Forward, is intended to be an educational resource for venture capital firms to understand how to expand the diversity of their teams and portfolio. 

The third edition of the Survey, with data collected in 2020, continued the assessment of the state of talent management, with a special focus on DEI, in the U.S. VC industry. Results from the third edition were benchmarked against findings from the first (2016) and second (2018) editions. As in 2016 and 2018, the survey conducted in 2020 requested firm demographic information (e.g., investment stage focus) and demographic information for each employee (e.g., gender and race). Additionally, the Survey asked firms to provide information regarding firm talent management practices and DEI programs. 

The fourth edition of the survey—powered by NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte—was fielded in August and September 2022 for active U.S. VC firms to complete. Results will be released, in an anonymized and aggregated format, in early 2023.

Although there have been other assessments of DEI in the VC industry, this survey provides a unique perspective. Unlike other research efforts in this area, it gathers data from VC firms of all types, sizes, and geographies; examines diversity for a variety of groups across all levels and types of positions at VC firms; and assesses firm talent management strategies. 

The VC Human Capital Survey is a critical component to advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry. Our goal is to have every active U.S. VC firm participate, regardless of size, focus, location, or current demographics. 

The VC Human Capital Survey questionnaire was developed with input from a diverse range of VC industry leaders (including partners, CFOs, and HR/talent managers) and inclusion subject matter specialists at Deloitte. The questions have largely remained the same for the 20162018, and 2020 Surveys. However, as the industry has evolved, a few new questions were added to the 2022 questionnaire. 

The Survey questionnaire consists of three sections:

1. General firm profile information (e.g., number of employees, investment focus, AUM, and location).  

Note: Individual firm names will not be publicly disclosed. Firm profile details will only be reported in an anonymized and aggregated format.

2. Firm workforce details (e.g., provide demographic data and the details on responsibilities for each member of the VC firm’s team).  

Note: Employee names are not collected on the surveyInformation and data provided regarding individual persons will appear only in an aggregate form that will not permit such individuals to be identified.

3. Firm talent management practices (e.g., how the firm recruits talent, who is responsible for human resources at the firm, how the firm promotes employees, whether the firm has a human capital strategy, etc.)  

Note: Firm information and data provided will appear only in an aggregated and anonymized form. 

NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte understand the sensitive nature of the data and information collected in the VC Human Capital Survey. Each firm’s underlying data and information is strictly confidential. Data and information on firms and individuals will only be used in an anonymized and aggregated form, without any identifying details. NVCA and Venture Forward do not have access to identifiable underlying data and information, which is solely managed by Deloitte.

The goal of the Survey is to have every active US VC firm participate, regardless of size, focus, geography, or current demographics. 

As in previous surveys, NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte identified the universe of active US VC firms to survey in 2022, with the help of PitchBook data. We surveyed US-based VC firms who met any of these criteria: 

  • Raised a VC fund between 2014 and 2021 
  • Made 1+ investment in a US-based company in 2021, limited to VC firms that either raised a fund or were raising a fund, and made at least five investments in the past five years 
  • Identified as a growth equity firm in the NVCA 2022 Yearbook 
  • Identified as a corporate venture group that made 10+ investments in US-based companies between 2017 and 2021 
  • Considered an NVCA member firm as of May 2022 

Each VC firm has one representative, such as their CFO, general counsel, or HR manager, complete the Survey on behalf of the firm, providing information on its employees. Employees are not contacted to participate individually. The VC firm representative also provides information on the firm’s talent management, recruitment, and HR practices. 

Past Survey response rates: 

  • 2016 – 217 VC firms representing 2,500+ employees  
  • 2018 – 203 VC firms representing 2,700+ employees  
  • 2020 – 378 VC firms representing 4,990+ employees 

In all three past Surveys, the sample was broadly representative of the VC industry at the time.  

For the 2022 Survey, several VC firms also publicly committed to participating by signing the NVCA and Venture Forward #VCHumanCapital Pledge. View the list here. 

Each VC firm has a greater chance at improving what it tracks and measures. The same applies across our industry, which is why it’s incredibly important that we collectively track and measure progress. The VC Human Capital Survey also offers a way for us to collect and report the DEI data—in an anonymized way—to hold the industry accountable, learn where we still need to improve, and offer a way to benchmark against peers.

If your VC firm truly believes in advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry, we ask that you make submitting your details via the biennial VC Human Capital Survey part of your DEI strategy. The next Survey will be fielded in 2024.

Venture Forward Executive Director Maryam Haque shares more on why this Survey is important for VC firms and the industry.

Although there have been other assessments of DEI in the VC industry, the VC Human Capital Survey provides a unique perspective. Unlike other research efforts in this area, it gathers data from VC firms of all types, sizes, and geographies; examines diversity for a variety of groups across all levels and types of positions at VC firms; and assesses firm talent management strategies. The Survey sample is broadly representative of the VC industry.

The more research and data on the state of DEI the industry has, the better we can understand progress and challenges. Other DEI-related surveys that are complementary—not duplicative—to the VC Human Capital Survey:

  • State of Black Venture – Conducted by BLCK VC, this survey is a comprehensive deep-dive into the Black venture investor experience to better understand where the community is investing, succeeding, and facing challenges. 
  • Diversity Report – Conducted by DiversityVC and SIEO, this survey assesses the capital allocation and funding value chain between LPs, GPs, and founders.  

The 2022 Survey has closed. The Survey response period was open from August 29 through September 30, 2022. VC firms had the option to complete the survey using either a web-based survey link (recommended for firms with <10 employees) or survey workbook (recommended for firms with 10+ employees). Please contact hello@ventureforward.org with any questions.

Previous Versions of the VC Human Capital Survey

Third Edition: Results from the 2020 Survey 

The third edition of our VC Human Capital Survey includes collected data from VC firms as of June 30, 2020. Results from this edition were benchmarked against findings from the first and second editions, which were originally conducted in 2016 and 2018. 

In addition to the report, this dashboard provides information on: 

  • Who works in the VC industry
  • Whether gender, ethnic, or age groups have differing experiences
  •  What firms are doing to enhance DEI 

For optimal viewing, it is recommended to view the dashboard on a desktop device. 

Second Edition: Results from the 2018 Survey 

The second edition of the VC Human Capital Survey was conducted in 2018. Results from the second edition were benchmarked against baseline findings from the first edition, which was originally conducted in 2016.

First Edition: Results from the 2016 Survey 

In the first edition of the VC Human Capital Survey conducted in 2016, NVCA and Deloitte set out to create a benchmark for diversity in the VC industry. This written report was developed to dive deeper into the numbers and draw out key insights on steps that can be taken to create a more inclusive industry. 

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