93%…What the Fuck is going on with VC Funding?

100% women for this VC panel at Slush 2018: Rebecca Kaden (Union Square Venture) Alice Bentick (EntrepreneurFirst), Rebecca Lynn (Canvas Ventures) and Beezer Clarkson (Sapphire Ventures)

93 %? This number shows the percentage of VC funds raised by in 2018 by all-male founding teams. Saying that women and minorities are underrepresented at every level of the ecosystem is a clear understatement.

On my way back from Slush 2018, I was thinking about the most important information I got attending this event. This is the most important thing I have learned. We would have a lot to celebrate in the VC industry regarding 2018, another extraordinary year for European tech investment (that will reach a record of more than $23 billion). But while the money is flowing, diversity is stalling.

We already know that the lack of diversity issue in the Tech scene touches all aspects of the industry: hiring, board membership, entrepreneurship, big tech company demographics. So, what’s wrong with VC funding in 2018?

WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Despite, we can mostly highlight the fact that all-male teams get more than 90% of European startup funding. This is the “uncomfortable truth” so called by Francesca Warner CEO of Diversity VC.

With record investments in startups, Europe’s tech scene has a lot to celebrate. But on diversity, there is a lot of work to do, as we didn’t improve at all for the past 10 years.

These massive demographic breakdowns will take years to reverse. And it is not a coincidence that the amount of capital raised by minorities and women closely resembles their representation among venture capitalists.

WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?

We are not just talking about female representation in the ecosystem. There is, in addition, a clear lack of educational institution diversity, and representation of all kind of minorities.

Less than 0,2% of funding is raised bu women of colour in Europe

Diversity is about success.

  • Attracting and retaining talents,
  • Performation better financially,
  • Demonstrating and improving channels of communication,
  • Improving social impact…

Inclusion is the act of making someone feel part of a group

It doesn’t mean people have to compromise (for example in recruitment). Entrepreneurs still have to work with the brightest and most-skilled people. But it is about leading and building a culture of high performance at the best of everyone abilities, including people from diverse background, culture and origin.

Diversity is about inspiration

The future of tech will be a collaboration of people from different backgrounds, origins and experiences. Excluding talents from minorities means excluding ideas and new inspiration.

Diversity is about the future of the digital economy

WHAT ARE THE SOLUTION ?

In my opinion, VCs have to take the lead on building diversity and inclusion strategies. VCs’ decision drives the tech-economy (sectors, amount, startup valuation…). It is now the time for them to act, to take time and energy to influence a more diverse ecosystem (and with less discrimination…).

How we can change the VC industry and making it more diverse and inclusive? I have started to list a few solutions to engage the debate:

  • Solution 1: make everybody conscious of it: especially investors have to understand bias and share information about it. Every VC should read the Atomico report and talk about it, internally first.
  • Solution 2: promote diversity in business: VCs has to highlight women lead investment in their portfolio. Every VC should have a Diversity & Inclusion internal policy. VCs have first to create an inclusive workplace.
  • Solution 3: Talk about it and promote early-stage investment for diversity startup founders in the ecosystem. Allocate budget people and time to promote and highlight leaders from diverse demographic experience or gender.
  • Solution 4: Hiring more talents from diversity. VCs aren’t looking widely and deeply enough for diverse talent.
  • Solution 5: other types of investors have to do part of the job: every accelerator, incubator, school-program, coworking spaces…has to engage more events encouraging and inspiring minorities in tech-business.

Diversity and inclusion in tech To tackle the diversity issue, Atomico has partnered with Diversity VC to launch a practical online guide for technology entrepreneurs on how to do just that: be diverse and inclusive. Starting by reading it is already something!

And what about France?

  • The “Galion Project” a French think tank of high-performing entrepreneurs has released a “gender-agreement” to help companies to create a more fair and inclusive workplace in the tech industry.
  • The “wearesista” initiative wants to address the low rate of women-led startup funded by Venture Capital in the Frenchtech.

Other initiatives are existing for a long time, and are now more active and highlighted: women in tech, Led by her, techfugees…

It feels like there is a change coming in France. The French tech ecosystem is growing up faster than other in all kind of metrics (Yes, I know, I am a bit “French” by saying this). Let’s be optimistic and create all together the most diverse tech ecosystem in the world!

Eldorado will soon launch a survey for french VCs on their action they are taking to promote diversity in the ecosystem. #staytuned.

Entrepreneur & Investor — CEO & founder www.eldorado.co— I just want to drink coffee, create stuff & sleep.