Decision makers fare best when they openly acknowledge and address homophily early on, understand that small adjustments in mindset and behaviour can have lasting ripple effects, and diversify their personal as well as professional networks.Paul Gompers and Silpa Kovvali
It is not a secret that diversity has been proven to boost work fields creatively and financially. A diverse team is a must in this era of micro and psychographic customer segments, where it gets harder and harder to reach customers with effective marketing and sales pitches. It is time to get in the wave and make diversity one of your value cornerstones inside your organisation.
In the US alone, only 8% of investors are women, 2% are hispanic and fewer than 1% are black. We don’t want to say that startup founders won’t be able to raise funding by being females or belonging to a minority race, but having diversity inside VC teams will obviously increase the chances of your product & ideas to be perceived differently — they will be better understood. To illustrate this example, the case of Mikia Grawal, CEO & Founder of THINX — period proof tech underwear, who had the experience of her product not being understood by VC’s and thus making it impossible to raise VC funding. One can speculate, that if the field was more diverse, the chances of somewhat “taboo” product ideas would be perceived differently and given a chance. Thankfully enough, THINX got off the ground through crowdfunding.
Having more diversity, makes the chances of new and innovative products ideas be understood by more people and of course cater segments of the population that have somehow been left out. If things were equal, we would not be writing this post.
Having diversity in teams, tech fields and investment fields, removes the hurdles of doubting further. We don’t need diversity just because, we need diversity everywhere because this globe is diverse. Diversity, is like innovation, if you, as an old school corporate fail to innovate, you will be left behind. I’m sure leading hotel chains did not see Airbnb or Booking.com, messing up with millennials and their demands with new experiences and affordable pricing.
Diversity should always be a thing. Being part of this continuous wave of acceptance starts with understanding what is out there, what are the different initiatives that you as an individual can be part of and raise awareness of underrepresented segments in the population.
The following, is a list we put together with members of the Maria 01 tech startup community, that lists some of the most inspiring startup & VC initiatives that support diversity globally you should notice and follow up closely. Here it goes (in no particular order):
A comprehensive weekly newsletter that packs nicely all news related to #womenintech & diversity. This is the place to get inspired and explore the latest news on female-led businesses, female investors and secrets of success. Sign up here.
Inklusiiv was founded in 2019 with the aim of helping everyone to have access to the best diversity and inclusion knowledge and practices. Furthermore, they work closely with corporations and smaller organisations to instill a culture of diversity and inclusion at the workplace. Be part of their community.
A movement that was born out of data: female founders in the US receive far less venture investment that men. Thus, All Raise was born to support and connect initiatives that engage more women and minorities in the founding and funding of tech-driven companies. Read their blog here.
Leap by Y Combinator
An outstanding initiative by Y Combinator founded by Cadran Cowansage to promote women in tech. The community works as an online forum where anyone can be part of, ask questions, share interesting articles, ask for professional and person advice, no topic is off limits! Please join Leap!
A VC fund for underinvested founders outside the networks of traditional venture capital. The team has invested in companies with tech backgrounds but also non tech ones. The team behind is Sara Wimmercranz & Susanne Najafi — both serial entrepreneurs. If you want to pitch your idea go ahead!
This VC, funds women with big ideas at the early stage of their journey. The VC was founded by 2 females from Stanford whose aim is to support, connect, guide and offer investment opportunities to women. Pitch them your idea here.
Just a visit to their website and you’ll know what they are about “less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, people of color and LGBT founders” A huge problem, that backstage capital is solving one deal at a time and giving these minorities a chance. Arlan Hamilton, CEO & Co-Founder, and her experienced team have already invested in over 60 different projects. More info here.
This is a worldwide organisation that helps to increase participation of the R community (including but not limited to cis/trans women, trans men, non-binary, genderqueer, agender) in every role and area of participation (leaders, package developers, conference speakers, conference participants, educators, or users). Find or start a chapter here.
An award-winning global organisation that supports women in the creative fields through mentorship and events. The organisation has presence in 40 cities around the world and has been running since 2007. Search their events here.
This community platform is tackling the lack of black investors and aims to turn 200 black investors in 400 black investors by 2024. BLCK VC provides a community to connect, engage, empower, and advance black investors. You can be part of their network, sign up here.
A $50 million early stage fund lead by Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström. Caterina is one of the co-founders at Flickr and Hunch. Jyri co-founded Jaiko and Ditto -in both cases they companies were sold. They invest in pre-seed and seed-stage companies. Check them here.
A must-subscribe newsletter targeted at students from the Stanford twins Justine and Olivia Moore and investors at venture capital firm CRV. The newsletter is packed with news about technology and VCs. Sign up here.
We will update this list with more VCs and global startup initiatives you can be part of. Amongst all, we hope this inspires you and removes the mental hurdles for getting out there and being your badass self!