D&I Takes A Big Step Forward
D&I is a theme we’ve tracked closely in 2018, as we think it’s critical for the future of tech. It never feels as though things are moving as fast as we’d like but the progress we have seen has been unmistakable. This was the year we started seeing words turning into action. A few examples…
In our own program, 70% of Techstars LA companies from the 2018 class were led by CEOs from underrepresented communities, and 65% of all TS LA portfolio companies (’17 & ’18) have at least one underrepresented founder.
In Los Angeles, the LA venture community, the Annenberg Foundation and Mayor Garcetti’s office worked together to create a city-wide commitment called Pledge LA
with a goal to transform the tech industry into one that is more inclusive and equitable. Nearly every venture firm and early stage investor in LA (including Techstars LA) has signed on and will be held accountable to tracking their D&I numbers.
At the global level, Techstars changed its code of conduct to adopt Kapor Capital’s Founders’ Commitment
around D&I. This means that the 500+ companies graduating from Techstars in 2019 will all be required to start building D&I into their cultures from day one. Techstars is certainly not the first organization to adopt the Founders’ Commitment and won’t be the last. Our hope for 2019 is that all early stage investors begin adopting this same language to help create a new industry norm around D&I.
The big question that remains with all these pledges and commitments is, of course, accountability. We’ll be watching to see how it all plays out in 2019 but feel optimistic that we’re close to turning a corner.