We have not sat here for so many years, we have so many years with strong faces and encouraging words and pretend that we are not tired.
We are tired because we have spent yet another week for our black brothers and sisters, who were unjust deaths. We are tired because we have spent half of that week in the hands of white colleagues because they were reminded that racism still exists and it is truly tragic. We are tired because we are a broken record, telling firms and companies what they can do to fight racism and rarely taking action that they emotionally promise they care about Huh. When we talk about these issues, we are tired of holding on to anger and sorrow, knowing that our industry is not doing the bare minimum to support black investors. After advising allies, lost lives in mourning and working full-time jobs, we raised over $ 100,000. And we are tired of racism.
Last week, BLCK VC did not wait us out, hosting a day of action where we called venture companies Discuss, donate and provide diversity. We asked these firms to discuss Venture’s role in combating institutional racism, donating to nonprofits, promoting racial equity, and releasing their data on the diversity of their investment teams and portfolio founders. These are the first steps. If you haven’t done this, you’re probably not ready for “office hours”. Before we get ahead of ourselves, explain why these steps are not straight or sufficient.
Please discuss. It sparked a nationwide revolt for many VC firms to counter institutional racism. Nevertheless, 80% of firms do not have a single black investment professional to identify with what we know in both our professional and personal lives. BLCK VC held its discussion to share that perspective focused on the experiences of black investors and entrepreneurs.
During this discussion, Terry Burns of GV stated, “When a black person is murdered again by the police, it is not correct to say that the system has failed, because the system was designed in such a way Was. ” It is clear that systemic racism leads to maladjustment, dehumanization and unjust deaths of black people across the country. Van Jones of Drive Capital drew a fitting analogy: “Being black is like being in lane eight with a weight vest and cement shoes.” Seems uncomfortable. But every black person in America steps out of bed everyday. For black founders, discrimination by chancellors is par for the course. Alice Smith is not alone when she puts on her daily armor and allows herself to be seen in the white-dominated industries of venture capital and Silicon Valley tech.
But we are not going to repeat his saying. Because you can watch the video, and you can do the research, and you can understand the problem yourself. The truth is that we are not interested in explaining this problem to White VC again and again, when many of my siblings have already talked about it. If you want to know how much institutionalized racism has made venture capital homogeneous and exclusive and racist, please look here, here, here and here.
What we are interested in explaining is that these are only examples of everyday dealings with black investors and entrepreneurs. For almost every black person at Tech, these examples are not only reliable, but they are common. These are not stories that shock and surprise the black community, they are everyday stories. We did not talk about the time, until we heard the n-word from your colleagues or they said that our natural hair and beard were unprofessional. We talked about the system.
There are a lot more stories and experiences than sharing those seven voices, so please consider what approaches are missing when you have discussions. Not only your discussion about racism, but also your discussion about the future of venture capital, and about aerospace investment, and about COVID-19 and D2C businesses, and about recruitment, and advice. About golf. Black voices are often left out of conversations where relationships are formed and investment decisions are made, but the discussion that the lack of a black perspective is incomplete.
donate. Several VC firms and investors talked last week about donating their time and resources to black entrepreneurs and investors – which is an interesting way to talk about your job. Please do not donate your time or your money to black investors or entrepreneurs.
Invest in black founders as they are some of the best entrepreneurs. Invest in them because they understand an issue you don’t. Invest for the same reasons that you invest in all your entrepreneurs – because they are good. When you frame what you are doing as a charity, it is not only the entrepreneurs who are doing these and maintaining some of the most racist aspects of venture capital, but it gives you this It also prevents you from understanding that you are bad at your job. Yes, if you do not have a diversified pipeline or a diversified portfolio, then you are bad at your job. Creating a separate location and separate fund for Black entrepreneurs removes responsibility for the firms they find, invest in and support for Black Founders.
If you want to donate money, donate money to nonprofits fighting institutional racism. If you want to donate time, volunteer. If you want to be a better investor, find out why your pipeline is so homogeneous and fix it.
Diversity. Let’s go back to an important statistic: more than 80% of venture capital firms do not have a single black investor. This statistic is interesting, because it is about industry trends, it is really about the failures of individual firms. Most firms do not have a diversified investment employee. They do not have diverse investment employees because they do not understand the value of racial diversity. They do not understand the value of racial diversity because there are no diverse investors to force them to think about diversity. Rinse. Repeat
The most important part of diversifying a VC firm and broadly diversifying VC monitors the lack of diversity. Most firms do not regularly track data on their investors, deal pipelines, events, or investment diversities. As a result, they rarely think about racial diversity. This is where we ask firms to start. Yes, mentorship can be helpful, office hours can be helpful, but if you are not keeping an eye on the diversity matrix of your firm, they will not improve.
now what? Okay, you’ve discussed racism with your colleagues, you’ve donated money to nonprofits and you’ve (hopefully) started tracking the diversity of your firm. now what? Solution to casteism? Probably right there.
Hopefully these conversations make you realize where your firm’s specific shortcomings lie, and you have to address those people. Most companies will realize that they have a pipeline problem, so start there. Do all your events, dinners and events have black representation? When you are trying to fill the role of an investor, have you posted a job on your website and in various black online communities? Does the final round of your candidates reflect the diversity of our country? Have you supported various investors already employed so that they do not feel deprived, under-advocated and left out? When you are trying to write new checks, have you used Black Scouts and consider businesses that do not directly address you?
When you have done all that, ask yourself this: What will you be doing when the protests calm down, and articles about racial oppression are not at the top of your time? Don’t just let it be office hours, don’t let yourself be paralyzed against taking the work forward. Your actions matter. Your inaction matters.
The flexibility of the black community is unique. That flexibility means that no matter how tired we are, we will still struggle to change this country and change this industry. This means that no matter how many times we do it to advise a colleague. And this means that no matter how many times we face persecution and mourning for our brothers and sisters, we will still face challenges. And as long as the stories of racism and exaggeration continue, it will be our drive to move forward and our action to break down barriers. We will continue to build homes for ourselves in this industry. We will continue to work to ensure Black Lives Matter.