61. Diversity in Venture Capital, Part 1 (Christine Tsai)

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Christine Tsai of 500 Startups joins Nick to cover Diversity in Venture Capital, Part 1. We will address questions including:

  • The Information recently published their “Future List” study, conducted w/ Social Capital on Diversity at VC firms. They found that 92% of the senior investors top-tier firms are male and 78% are white. They also found that almost 25% have all-white male managers.
    • Did you get a chance to read the study and were you surprised by the results?
    • Do you think the environment has changed much over the past few years?
  • After the study came out, Charlie O’Donnell wrote that he was disappointed in the data set as he said it excluded the most important statistic of all… the results. “Who is actually building a portfolio whose founders reflect the diversity of the greater population?”
    • What are your thoughts on Charlie’s position that the study should be focused on who’s being funded instead of who’s doing the funding?
  • We recently had Semil Shah on the program and were discussing the availability of capital at the seed stage vs. A. While he said it’s fairly easy to raise at the seed round, he mentioned that it’s still much more difficult for what he called URMs, under represented minorities. I recall his comments about how there’s “no welcome wagon in the valley” and how this especially effects URMs.
    • Have you witnessed a climate that makes it especially difficult for under represented minorities?
    • Can you talk about your personal experience as a diverse woman entering this white, male dominated industry?
  • There were many great VC firms that scored very low in the Information’s data set.
    • We won’t name names but generally what message do you have for them?
    • Do you have any thoughts on how they can accomplish a more diverse and balanced firm?
  • Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw of Aspect Ventures have an initiative focused on building a collaborative network of female entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists.
    • Do you see an emerging trend of networks and communities being created to help change the lack of diversity we see in venture?
  • You’ve said “The best thing women in tech can do is to invest in other women,” Last fall, 500 introduced its 500 Women AngelList syndicate and pledged to invest $1 million in 10 female-led companies in the portfolio.
    • What are the goals and results you’ve seen from this initiative?

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Pete Maglio

The takeaways to end this episode are fantastic! Thanks @TheFullRatchet & @BenEinstein! pca.st/Fey4 #smartHardware #startups