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Diversity VC names new predominantly female advisory board to assist firms after D&I training

With women filling just 9 per cent of C-suite leadership roles in tech companies, Diversity VC announces a new advisory board that is 75 per cent female.

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The Standard Advisory Board/Diversity VC.

Diversity VC, a nonprofit organisation promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in venture capital (VC), is forming a new advisory board for its assessment and certification process.

The advisory board, comprised of both VC and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) experts, will assist companies that have received their certification, known as The Standard, while working to “promote and embed best practices into the industry”.

Its assistance will include hosting roundtables to discuss learning and running workshops at partner conferences.

Having already been adopted by more than 60 firms across the world, the certification process strives to “set a benchmark for best practices on D&I” in the sphere of VC.

According to Diversity VC’s own findings, industry figures on D&I show that the industry is 71 per cent male, 74 per cent white, and 28 per cent Russell Group graduates.

Diversity VC’s head of US, Sarah Millar, told AltFi, “The Advisory Board is aiming to target a change to these figures, albeit indirectly by working on recommendations for those policies and practices VC funds can adopt to increase the number of currently underrepresented individuals in the VC ecosystem.”

She continued, “Diversity VC's aim is to have venture capital reflect the rich fabric of society. What that society looks like ranges by region; for example, reflecting the US population in US venture capital will look different from what it might look like in the UK. 

“While these targets may vary, the first necessary step for achieving them is laying the groundwork for change.”

The advisory board includes legal and sustainability manager for Kinnevik AB, Rebecka Elming Saidac, global HR manager for ZX Ventures, Deepika Hebbalalu, principal for Mercury Fund, Samantha Lewis and co-founding managing partner for H/L Ventures, Oliver B. Libby.

With a board that is 75 per cent female, this is significantly higher than the percentage of women in the tech industry at large. 

Women face a huge hurdle when it comes to making it in the tech world, both in terms of getting jobs and then when it comes to getting funding.

Having a D&I advisory board could prove a crucial step towards seeing both more women represented in the industry and more funding for women-led VCs.

According to an Extended Ventures report, from 2009 to 2019 just three per cent of VC funding went to all-female teams.

Meanwhile, 68 per cent of funding went to all-male teams.

In addition, according to a Tech Nation study, just nine per cent of c-suite leaders in tech companies are female, while eight per cent of chief executive officers, managing directors and owners.

Just three per cent of chief technical officers of technical directors are women, and, even more striking, a mere 0.6 per cent of chief operating and 0.4 per cent of chief financial officer roles.

Initiatives like Diversity VC, which are working to “creat[e] a culture and environment where people from all walks of life can thrive”, are hopefully part of the first steps to seeing more women in tech roles across the board.

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