PRESIDENT OBAMA recently hosted the first ever White House Demo Day which focused on the need for greater inclusiveness in the venture capital and tech sectors and which highlighted the administration’s TechHire initiative. A White House press release revealed some startling statistics that these initiatives are designed to address.
- Just three percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women.
- Women makeup only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors.
- Only around one percent of African-Americans lead venture capital-backed startups.
We are proud to point out that some MCCA Board Member Corporations are playing significant roles in helping to address these problems. The president lauded Xerox and Microsoft for their implementation of versions of the “Rooney Rule” (Xerox named it the “Wilson Rule”) in hiring for senior level positions. Some capital firms with over $100 billion under management, including Intel Capital, among others, made commitments to specific actions designed to advance opportunities for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. MCCA is actively working with the ABA Commission on Women on an upcoming Bias Interrupters research project designed to provide tools to eliminate barriers to inclusion in the tech sector and beyond. Two of MCCA’s new board members, Dawn Smith, general counsel of VMware and Suzan Miller, deputy general counsel of Intel, are remarkable leaders and champions of inclusiveness.
They also represent companies that are committed to making a difference in the tech arena. Our goal is to provide opportunities for our members to both contribute and benefit from this long-overdue commitment to inclusiveness in the tech and venture capital sectors. We welcome your input in this process. In addition to this exciting national news, this month’s issue profiles our Diversity Gala award winners. We hope that you find their stories compelling and their ideas inspiring. As Diversity Gala Keynote Speaker Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs of Microsoft Corporation, said, “We need to continue to advance the diversity cause and become as diverse as the nation we serve.”
Joseph K. West
President & CEO