Inklusiiv has launched a new initiative to challenge European VCs to promote diversity and inclusion in their own firms and the European tech industry at large. The new initiative hopes to increase VC firms’ awareness of the venture capital industry’s role in advancing diversity and inclusion.
“In 2018, 93% of all European venture capital went to all-male founding teams – and we don’t even know the statistics for other dimensions of diversity. Addressing this imbalance requires efforts on many fronts, but it is clear that VCs have a big part to play. Besides making critical investment decisions, VCs influence strategy through boardwork, support and mentor founders, help shape company culture, and influence recruitment decisions. VCs fund the next generation of breakthrough companies – we want to help them make sure that this next generation is more inclusive and diverse than the last,” Inklusiiv Founder Katja Toropainen explains.
As part of the challenge, VC funds’ investors are expected to undergo training to help them reveal and address unconscious biases. Toropainen explains that while trainings such as these are common in international tech companies but still a rarity in Europe – something the new initiative seeks to change.
“All of us have biases, whether or not we’re aware of them. Before investors can expect more diverse portfolios, they need to first look in the mirror and learn about their own, often unconscious biases and how they may skew decision-making,” Toropainen continues.
VC companies Atomico, Maki.vc and Northzone were the first ones to support the initiative.
“The European tech scene cannot afford to exclude any talent. Although unconscious bias training does not solve anything overnight, it is a much needed first step towards improving our processes of evaluating new investments and potential recruits. We’ll continue to work hard on making Maki.vc an inclusive firm, from recruits to brand, communications and investment processes, and I hope the new initiative encourages everyone else to join, too ,” Maki.vc Founding Partner Ilkka Kivimäki explains.
The Inklusiiv challenge is live and can be signed up for here. The Inklusiiv team hopes to have every European VC commit to the challenge by the end of the year and complete the training in 2020.
“VCs set the bar for how inclusive the European tech scene is or is not,” Toropainen sums.