Over the last two years, many venture firms pledged to increase the diversity of their investment staff and the companies they back. It’s been difficult for venture capitalists, startup founders and others to determine the effectiveness of these efforts, but findings from The Information’s latest VC Diversity Index hold some answers.
Our survey of more than 100 firms and nearly 1,000 investment professionals reveals that the VC industry has improved its diversity in many ways in the three or so years since we last compiled this index: The number of Black partners who make investment decisions and lead deals at the top U.S. VC firms rose to more than two dozen from seven. Women make up about 22% of check writers, up from 15%. And at 21 firms, at least 40% of investment partners are Asian.
The majority of venture capitalists who yield the most influence over which startups get funded are still white men, although their dominance has faded a bit. They now hold 53% of the decision-making roles at the top U.S. VC firms. In 2018, white men held nearly 64% of such roles.
Our ranking shows that ed-tech investor Reach Capital, early-stage VC firm Initialized Capital and 500 Global, previously known as 500 Startups, are the most diverse in terms of the gender and ethnic backgrounds of key decision-makers. Below, we explain our findings.