Diverse-VC: A four part critical examination the diversity of the Venture Capital landscape, its implications, and its future

Our Iraoho-Intern Kiri Lenagh-Glue has been critically analysing the state of diversity in the Venture Capital space – this is the introduction for a 4-part series.

There is a pithy, if not slightly reductive adage which has been used to categorise a number of industries that have been traditionally exclusionary towards minorities, particularly within a Western context. The adage “pale, male, and stale” calls to mind industries and vocations that traditionally heavily favoured older, abled, white men with elite educational backgrounds. Technology, politics, judiciary, and core sciences spring to mind, but perhaps the industry most epitomised by this phrase would be business and finance, including investment and venture capital.

That is not to belittle the development and genuine growth that has gone into challenging these preconceptions and norms seen throughout these industries. Over the past few decades, there has been positive action at all levels to improve diversity and grow minority representation within these previously restrictive sectors. This is not simply an altruistic move either, with the general consensus being that diversified leadership performs better in all areas, including innovation and financial performance.1

However, while broader trends indicate shifting demographics within these fields, the fact is that although venture capital investments have increased dramatically in countries such as the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, the same metrics of growth have not been reflected either in the diversity of founders or institutional investors. 

This series seeks to critically examine the diversity of the venture capital landscape from the top down, examining how gender, ethnicity, educational background, and age are reflected in institutional investors, the implications of this, and the future outlook of this industry.

Read the first article, on gender diversity, here.

1. Harvard Business Review. “Institutional Investors Must Help Close the Race and Gender Gaps in Venture Capital”.  https://hbr.org/2020/08/institutional-investors-must-help-close-the-race-and-gender-gaps-in-venture-capital