The National Venture Capital Association is making a move that could help make the venture capital industry more inclusive with the launch of a non-profit: Venture Forward.
"We felt it is important to have dedicated team members who wake up every day and think about what we can do to help the industry be better," said Bobby Franklin, NVCA president and CEO as well as chairman of the non-profit's board of directors, in a launch video.
The Washington-based trade group launched the foundation in June to focus on guidance and programs in four areas: diversity, equity and inclusion in venture capital; ; education; research on venture capital trends; and preserving the history of the industry. NVCA officials planned to launch the foundation at its leadership gala in March but the event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Venture capital plays an important role in fueling innovation. … I think we should be at the forefront of telling our own story," said Charles Hudson, managing partner of Precursor Ventures and a foundation board member.
NVCA has taken steps to address some of these issues before. In 2014, it created a diversity task force and in 2017 it launched an initiative, "VentureForward," focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion.
The industry has a way to go toward this goal. According to the latest NVCA-Deloitte Human Capital Survey released in 2018, 80% of the venture capital workforce was white, 14% female, 15% Asian-Pacific Islander, 3% Black and 3% Hispanic or Latino. Deloitte & Touche LLP and NVCA are currently conducting the third survey, the Venture Forward's website shows.
"Over the last 50 years, this industry has produced tremendous innovation and economic success — but it has done so while systematically excluding the participation of women, people of color, and other underrepresented minorities," said Maryam Haque, Venture Forward executive director, in a statement.