The Big Picture: The Problem of Racism in Tech - Hope and Disappointment
Several months after the murder of George Floyd sparked a national dialogue about the discrimination and violence facing Black-Americans and other POC, the question looms: Has anything changed? In the venture capital world, thankfully, there are some hopeful signs.
Just yesterday, ten VC firms - led by Act One Ventures and including Greycroft, First Round, Harlem Capital, and others - added a diversity rider to their terms sheets. These firms, in effect, pledged to make 'commercial best efforts' to include as a co-investor in all investments at least one Black person, or a representative of another 'underrepresented group' (which includes, but is not limited to, LatinX, women, and LGBTQ+). The initiative was spearheaded by Act One's principal Alejandro Guerrero, who told Axios that the fundamental idea is to open up networks and access to those who had been previously excluded from it.
This news comes on the heels of a new venture fund, Black Founders Matter, making its first investment. Founded by Marceau Michel, the fund is set to close at $10M but has only raised $1M so far since being unveiled in 2018.
These are two examples of moves in the right direction, which also fail to belie the massive work that remains to be done. According to the National Venture Capital Association...