Today the tech industry does not look like America, and that has a significant influence on the types of products and services that get created . When the lived experience of underrepresented communities is omitted from the product development cycle, the usefulness of the technology becomes biased towards one group.
At Kapor Capital, we believe that investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs can yield new ideas, markets, and revenue streams that others have overlooked. We also believe that building diverse and inclusive teams brings a competitive advantage to tech. That’s one reason why we focus on seed-stage startups still in their infancy. The earlier a company bakes in diversity and inclusion, the more likely it will become a part of its DNA and positively impact the company’s development and future success.
This year, the Kapor Capital Founders’ Commitment will help portfolio companies make collective progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion. Initiated by a group of Kapor Capital founders in the summer of 2015, the Founders’ Commitment has evolved into a set of four actions that all incoming founding teams will agree to carry out, and all current portfolio founders have the choice to opt into.
The Four Actions
Here’s what the Founders’ Commitment asks companies to do:
- Establish diversity and inclusion goals that are appropriate for the company’s funding stage, employee size, customer base, and core business. Include progress on diversity and inclusion in quarterly investor updates.
- Invest in tools, training programs, and/or resources that assist with mitigating bias in recruiting, hiring, and employment.
- Organize volunteer opportunities for employees to engage with underrepresented communities, especially those that reflect the company’s customer base.
- Participate in diversity and inclusion sessions to learn about what works and what doesn’t. These sessions will be hosted by Kapor Capital and will be made available for virtual participation as needed.
In addition to aligning the Kapor Capital portfolio around a shared set of diversity and inclusion actions, the Founders’ Commitment establishes the firm’s commitment to provide exclusive resources, training, and recruitment opportunities for our founders. As we improve upon and learn best practices from these engagements, we will make them publicly available.
Positive gap-narrowing social impact is already a key driver for Kapor Capital companies. Now, with the Founders’ Commitment, developing diverse teams and inclusive workplaces will become a core competency too. Looking ahead, Kapor Capital companies will be able to exemplify that it is possible to be both a great business and a great place for people from all backgrounds to work.
How You Can Get Involved
If you are interested in receiving early access to our diversity and inclusion resources and programming, subscribe to our mailing list.
Who’s Made The Commitment
Associated Articles and Press
San Francisco Chronicle: Tech VC’s New Idea: Fund Only Startups That Care About Diversity
Black Enterprise: Kapor Capital Announces Diversity and Inclusion “Founders Commitment”
Silicon Beat: Kapor Capital Asks Startups to Sign Diversity Pledge