6 min read

500 Startups Receives Diversity VC Certification as it Commits to Diversity and Inclusion

To better understand our diversity performance and signal our advocacy for D&I practices, we engaged Diversity VC, a non-profit organization.

Christine Tsai

Founding Partner and CEO

Published

11.03.21

When 500 Startups was founded 10 years ago, being inclusive was core to our firm’s mission. We invested in founders from all over the world and our team members came from diverse backgrounds that did not fit the typical profile of a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. 

Still, the conversations around systemic racism this past year reminded us that we needed to redouble our efforts. More specifically, we made a commitment to track and measure our progress as it relates to diversity and inclusion–internally and within our portfolio. 

To better understand our diversity performance and signal our advocacy for D&I practices, we engaged Diversity VC, a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with Diversio and OneTech to assess hiring and training practices, as well as sourcing and diligence of investments, and benchmark fund managers against peers in venture capital. They reviewed our progress to date and completed an assessment of our policies and practices, so that we can establish a baseline to measure against going forward and identify opportunities for improvement.

We are pleased to share that we received a certification from Diversity VC, and have begun implementing their recommendations. 

This will be an ongoing process that requires active monitoring, and we plan to conduct internal surveys annually to assess progress. Because of the global reach of our organization and portfolio, we are also working with Diversio to design processes and metrics that are region-specific. 

“There’s a very clear demand from the public on corporate action when it comes to this [diversity and inclusion.] A lot of investors felt it was their duty to be part of this conversation, and do what they are able to do to move it forward,” says Anna Klimbovskaia, co-founder and COO of Diversio. 

500 is also actively seeking to increase the diversity of our co-investment networks and foster the ecosystem, by sharing and creating opportunities for diverse founders through our 2021 Unity and Inclusion Summit which takes place on April 7th and 8th. 

After reporting our first set of portfolio statistics last year, here’s another snapshot as of December 31, 2020:

  • 4.6%¹ of companies in our portfolio have at least one founder who identifies as African, African-American, or Black (compared to 1%² across the larger venture industry)
  • 10.8%¹ of our startups have a Latinx founder (compared to 1.8%² for the venture industry)
  • 24.9%¹ of our portfolio has at least one woman founder (compared to 13%² for the venture industry)

We will continue to share our progress, as we recognize that our efforts at diversity and inclusion will be an ongoing journey.

 

References:

1- This data is based on internal analysis of portfolio company data aggregated across all investment funds within the 500 Startups group (“PortCos”). The data is based on (i) a voluntary survey of PortCo founders/management teams which received responses from 72.5% of the founders polled and (ii) independent research conducted on the public records relating to PortCo founders/management teams by representatives of 500 Startups. The founder responses and the research data have not been verified and the accuracy or completeness thereof is not guaranteed. This data is as of December 31, 2020 and is provided for educational or informational purposes only, does not constitute any solicitation or marketing content, and should not be relied upon by any person (i) in making a decision whether to invest in, or engage in business with, 500 Startups and (ii) as legal, tax or investment advice. Further details on methodology and assumptions can be obtained from the 500 Startups Data Team.

2- Industry wide percentages as reported in [https://www.forbes.com/sites/committeeof200/2020/09/22/diversity-as-uperpower-the-well-known-data-against-homogeneous-teams-in-venture-capital/#2e0c2cba2019] OR [https://about.crunchbase.com/female-founder-report-2020/]. Note that such datasets may be as of a different date than the data presented for 500 Startups. Such external data has not been verified.

 

Disclaimer

500 Startups programs (including accelerator programs), investor education services, strategic partnership consulting services and events are operated by 500 Startups Incubator, L.L.C. (together with its affiliates, “500 Startups”) and the funds advised by 500 Startups Management Company, L.L.C. do not participate in any revenue generated by these activities. Such programs and services are provided for educational and informational purposes only and under no circumstances should any content provided as part of any such programs, services or events be construed as investment, legal, tax or accounting advice by 500 startups or any of its affiliates.

The views expressed here are those of the individual 500 Startups personnel, or other individuals quoted and are not the views of 500 Startups or its affiliates. Certain information contained herein may have been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by 500 Startups. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, 500 Startups has not independently verified such information and makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information in this post or its appropriateness for a given situation. In addition, this content may include third-party advertisements or links; 500 Startups has not reviewed such advertisements and does not endorse any advertising content contained therein.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation, offer to sell or solicitation to purchase any investment securities, or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by 500 Startups. (An offering to invest in an 500 Startups fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by 500 Startups, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. 

Charts and graphs provided herein are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Unless otherwise expressly stated, figures are based on internal estimates and have not been independently verified. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. All logos and trademarks of third parties referenced herein are the logos and trademarks of their respective owners and any inclusion of such trademarks or logos does not imply or constitute any approval, endorsement or sponsorship of 500 Startups by such owners. 

Please see Section 2 of our Terms of Use for additional important information.

 

Christine Tsai

Founding Partner and CEO

Christine Tsai is the CEO and Founding Partner of 500 Global. Since the firm’s inception in 2010, she has led the growth of 500 to over $1.8B in AUM, 2,500+ portfolio companies, and a vibrant community of founders spanning 77 countries. The 500 global portfolio includes companies such as Talkdesk, Canva, Grab, Bukalapak, Lucidchart, Intercom, Gitlab, Credit Karma (acq’d by Intuit), Twilio (TWLO), TheRealReal (REAL), and SendGrid (SEND). Christine has spent her entire professional career building and investing in Silicon Valley. From 2003 to 2010, Christine held product marketing and operating roles at Google, including monetization and developer products such as Google AdSense, Google Analytics, YouTube APIs and syndication, and Google Developer Platform Tools. Christine holds a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

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