DEI / Venture capital

First Round’s Dorm Room Fund released an honest look at diversity among its partners

While the student-run venture capital is doing better than venture capital at large, it doesn't reflect the demographics of leading colleges for entrepreneurship. It hopes to change that.

Some Dorm Roomers under a First Round mantra in 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Dorm Room Fund got a highly-coveted Josh Kopelman shoutout on Twitter this week.
But it wasn’t on account of their addition to this NYC Startup guide or their recent fourth birthday party.
It was because, in a push for transparency, the student-run venture firm — which, granted, is run by Kopelman’s First Round Capital — published the results of their first-ever diversity report.

So, how did the firm do? Well, when it compared itself against the industry average, they found more diversity among its partners.
“Dorm Room Fund’s investment team is 28 percent female, 44 percent White, 42 percent Asian, 4 percent Black/Latinx vs. Venture’s 7 percent female, 74 percent White, 23 percent Asian, 3 percent Black/Latinx,” Dorm Room Fund director Rei Wang wrote on a comprehensive, stat-filled Medium post.
However, when compared against the backdrop of the college community they represent, the fund’s investment teams fell short of the average demographics of the top five colleges for entrepreneurs (which they defined as Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Harvard and Penn): 49 percent female, 41 percent white, 26 percent Asian, 23percent Black/Latinx.

“If we are to further succeed at Dorm Room Fund’s mission of catalyzing careers in the startup industry, we need to make this opportunity accessible to all students, regardless of race or gender or background,” Wang wrote. “Meeting the standard in VC isn’t good enough: we want to surpass the higher and tougher benchmark and have our team be as diverse and inclusive as the universities where Dorm Room Fund is active.”
And so, at the end of all the data, the fund included a link to a Google form where you can voice your concerns on diversity.
“We know we won’t be able to change the industry alone, so we’re asking for help,” Wang wrote.
Opening up the numbers other companies keep in the dark is certainly a step forward. What’s the next step?
Read the rest of the report here.

Companies: Dorm Room Fund
People: Josh Kopelman

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