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First Round will donate holiday video budget to tech-diversity nonprofits

For the tenth anniversary of its holiday tradition, the Philly-based VC firm scrapped the flashy production and went back to its roots. Sign of the times?

Razor Steel Robotics FTC demo at the Millennial Summit. (GIF by Holly Quinn)

For the tenth December in a row, the First Round Capital holiday video has arrived to awaken tech Twitter from its year-end slumber.

But this year, the vid offers a different kind of wake-up call: the Philly-based venture capital firm — founded by storied entrepreneur and tech statesman Josh Kopelman — did away with its usual flashy production and will donate the majority of the project’s budget to nonprofits working in diversity and inclusion efforts in tech.

Here’s how the company boiled it down on Twitter:

The move can easily be read as a sign of the times: 2017 saw the tech industry as a whole grapple with the consequences of its diversity and culture shortcomings. First Round-backed Uber, for one, got pummeled after former engineer Susan Fowler came forward with a detailed account of sexual harassment at the ride-hailing company. A couple of months later, CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down amid an investor upheaval that included First Round Capital.

A First Round spokesperson told Technical.ly the check will exceed the $25,000 mark and that the entire team will be involved in choosing the nonprofits that will get the donations.

“It’s easy for firms to lose track of the values and qualities that lead to their success,” said Amino cofounder Will Luttrell, whose startup raised a $1.75 million seed round over the summer from First Round and other investors. “We applaud FRC for taking the holiday video back to its lean and scrappy roots. They are an amazing partner.”

(Catch Luttrell and his team bustin’ a move around the 1:52 mark.)

Watch the video here and revisit our coverage of FRC holiday videos of yore:

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