Awards / Venture capital

Shorties Roundup: This new national VC survey found mixed results in DEI progress

Is the venture capital industry getting any more diverse? Well ... Plus, here's what else you might have missed in #dctech this week.

BLCK VC Baltimore-DC kickoff call. (Image via

Is the venture capital industry getting any more diverse? The D.C.-based National Venture Capital Association, Venture Forward and Deloitte released their third VC Human Capital Survey this week, showing mixed results.

Polling 378 firms with nearly 5,000 employees and managing an aggregate $256.4 billion in assets, the orgs found these stats, among others:

  • In 2020, women made up 45% of the overall VC workforce, 23% of all investment professionals and 16% of all investment partners. In 2018, they made up 45%, 21% and 14%, respectively.
  • In 2020, non-white professionals made up 28% of the overall VC workforce, 28% of all investment professionals and 22% of all investment partners. In 2018, they made up 24%, 24% and 20%, respectively.

It also found that, unsurprisingly, VC firms with strategies for increasing diversity did indeed have more diversity in their staffs.

“Many VC firms across the ecosystem have been prioritizing DEI and it was encouraging to see the high uptick in firms participating in the 2020 survey compared to 2018,” said Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA, in a statement. “Firms acting with urgency and intentionality are leading the way. Overall, the industry is moving in the right direction; however, the representation of women and people of color in investment decision making positions remains low. We hope firms can use the survey results to reassess and prioritize human capital strategies to accelerate industry progress.”

Check out the dashboard

We’ve seen a number of racial equity-minded VC commitments lately, both in the region and nationally. In February, Motley Fool Ventures said it had invested $5 million into diversity-focused funds, including D.C.’s Zeal Capital Partners, which along with The Marathon Fund secured January investments from Bank of America as part of the financial institution’s $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity in the U.S. And BLCK VC, a national org that aims to grow the number of Black investors, now has a Baltimore-D.C. chapter.

These efforts show a continuing movement toward diversifying both who receives growth capital, and who is doing the investing, especially in the VC-rich DMV region. We’ll keep an eye on continuing progress.

Now, for the news shorties from this week, as shared in DC’s daily newsletter:

Thursday, March 4

  • Through its 3Rs (Recovery, Rebuild, Resilience) accelerator and grant program, D.C. incubator 1863 Ventures is partnering with Capital One to offer 100 local Black-owned businesses online bizdev content, $5,000 grants and three months of business coaching. That program is also being extended to 13 other U.S. cities, thanks to The Rockefeller Foundation.
  • D.C.-based video game trade group Entertainment Software Association has donated $1 million to the nonprofit Black Girls Code via its ESA Foundation. “Our members are excited because [BGC is] located in so many different cities across the country that allow many of our members and others to participate as mentors,” ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis told GamesBeat.
  • George Mason University and the University of Maryland have both received grants from Break Through Tech with a goal to increase the number of women and nonbinary students graduating with tech degrees by 12.5 percentage points by 2026.

Wednesday, March 3

  • Cool job alert: The Center for Innovative Technology is hiring for a Virginia-based director for entrepreneurial ecosystems. The person in this role will report to Sean Mallon, the newly installed VP for CIT’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Division.
  • TPG Capital is acquiring Thycotic, a D.C.-based cloud-based access solutions provider, for an undisclosed amount. Last summer, Thycotic made an acquisition of its own: California-based Onion ID.
  • Beep boop bop for the environment: D.C. nonprofit Anacostia Riverkeeper is partnering with Boston-based enterprise AI company DataRobot to predict water quality in the urban waterway.

Tuesday, March 2

  • MemoryWell has raised a $2.5 million Series Seed round. The local digital storytelling startup previously raised $1 million in April 2019 and acquired life story app Trib in October 2020.
  • The founders of Hyattsville-based Everything Legendary appeared on “Shark Tank” on Feb. 26 to pitch their plant-based burger. Mark Cuban bit.
  • Tech-enabled convenience store chain Foxtrot has opened in Georgetown. The Chicago-based company raised $17 million last February, funding that included an investment from D.C.’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

Monday, March 1

  • The Virgin Hyperloop’s passenger-carrying vehicle will be making its public debut at the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building this November. Click around the high-speed transit pods’ website to see, hypothetically, how long it would take to travel anywhere in the world from D.C. via hyperloop. (Philly is 19 minutes, while Dubai is 12 hours and 41 minutes.)
  • The District’s COVID-19 vaccination sign-up portal crashed this past weekend as thousands of residents attempted to make appointments. Check out D.C. CTO Lindsey Parker’s joint statement with Microsoft.
  • An update from last week: Gaithersburg, Maryland’s Altimmune has officially begun enrollment for its Phase 1 trial of AdCOVID, a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, which is injected via nasal spray.
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Companies: 1863 Ventures / Capital One / University of Maryland / George Mason University / National Venture Capital Association

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