Baseline results guide path for improvement; coalition announces first change initiative
LOS ANGELES – PledgeLA, a coalition of venture capital (VC) and tech industry leaders seeking to usher the Los Angeles tech industry into a new dawn of equity, inclusion, and community engagement, today released the results of its first-ever venture capital survey. Launched in October 2018, PledgeLA is a partnership between the Annenberg Foundation, the Office of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and over 130 Los Angeles venture capitalist and tech industry leaders.
As part of the pledge, signatories were first required to participate in a study detailing the diversity and civic contribution within their respective firms. The aggregated data provides a baseline measurement of the demographic composition and community engagement of LA’s venture capital ecosystem. It represents the first time this information has been aggregated with a focus on a city and the first time this data has been self-reported, allowing deeper insight into previously unknown dimensions of identity in venture capital, such as hours spent on social impact, socioeconomic background, and perspectives on inclusion.
The aggregated results from the venture capital firms are available here: https://www.pledgela.org/accountability.
Key findings from the full report include:
- Just 34 percent of investors are people of color
- 81 percent of investors are male
- 51 percent rarely or never volunteer with a nonprofit
- 45 percent do not have a company “give back” program
Los Angeles, however, appears to be slightly better off than nationwide averages. Compared to a 2016 National Venture Capital Association survey the results indicate that Los Angeles VC firms have more gender diversity in the pipeline, are more diverse, and skew younger than the national average.
PledgeLA members have immediately responded to the problems highlighted by the survey by launching the first-ever citywide VC internship program which begins this summer in Los Angeles. Undergrads and graduate students from any college or university who self-identify as Black, Latinx, Native American, women, first-generation college students, veterans, persons with disabilities, LGBTQIA, and/or other underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply. The program, a collaboration with HBCUvc, a not-for-profit organization that trains and prepares diverse students for a career in venture capital and tech, is looking for candidates to participate in a paid 10-week experiential learning internship program in Los Angeles venture capital. Chosen candidates will participate in a two-week training to learn the fundamentals of investing and entrepreneurship, followed by eight weeks of hands-on experience working alongside a group of LA-based investors in a venture capital firm.
What sets PledgeLA apart from pledges and oaths that have become popular in recent years is that PledgeLA is one of the few to hold its members accountable and use the data as an immediate springboard to action. This internship is one of the many steps that can be taken to move toward more inclusion and equity.
“In order to see a real transformation of the LA tech landscape, we knew we had to work toward diversifying not just the workforce but also the investors, who are critical to impact and success,” said Cinny Kennard, Annenberg Foundation Executive Director. “With our PledgeLA VCs, we’re taking a top-down approach with the hope they can reset the composition of the decision-making table. And we feel confident that they will.”
“The initial survey showed that 54 percent of respondents reported growing up in households where their parents had graduate degrees; 78 percent of respondent’s parents have a bachelor’s degree or above. We’d love to get applicants that come from backgrounds we don’t traditionally see well-represented in the statistics,” said Austin Clements, Chair of the PledgeLA Advisory Committee. “We see this internship program as an opportunity to open up the network to diverse candidates who want to learn the business and actively contribute to defining what LA’s future looks like.”
PledgeLA began with venture capital firms and expanded to also include LA-based tech companies, who will participate in a similar survey this year.
PledgeLA is a first-of-its-kind partnership to promote civic engagement, diversity, and inclusion across LA’s booming and dynamic tech sector created in partnership with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Annenberg Foundation, and over 80 Los Angeles venture capitalists (VCs) and tech leaders. PledgeLA signatories are making a commitment to track civic participation and diversity data each year and make that data publicly available, as well as expand their engagement with local nonprofits that support diverse talent and reflect the civic spirit of Los Angeles.
Signed venture capitalists and tech leaders:
Venture Capital Signatories: Act One Ventures, Alpha Edison, Amplify, Autochrome, Backstage Los Angeles, BAM Ventures, Baron Davis Enterprises, BCG Digital Ventures, Blue Skies Unlimited, Bonfire, Bracket Capital, Brilliant Ventures, Bryant Stibel, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, Countrywood Holdings, Cross Culture Ventures, Crosscut Ventures, Embark Ventures, Employment Technology Fund, Evolution, Fifth Wall Ventures, Fika Ventures, First Republic Bank, Greycroft, Halogen Ventures, Intelatin, KohFounders, LDR Ventures, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Luma Launch, M Ventures, MiLA Capital, Moonshots Capital, Mucker Capital, Okapi Venture Capital, PLG Ventures, Plug and Play, PLUS Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Quake Capital, Roadster Capital, SAM, Preccelerator, SamsungNext, Silicon Valley Bank, Sound Ventures, Stage Venture Partners, Starburst Accelerator, StillMark, Tale Venture Partners, Techstars, TenOneTen Ventures, The 22 Fund, Troy Capital Partners, Upfront Ventures, USC Marshall Venture Fund, VamosVentures, Watertower Ventures, Wavemaker Partners
Tech Company Signatories: 7TILL8 Wetsuits, AELLA, Aspiration, Avisare, Basepaws, BESE, Beyond Meat, Blue Fever, Boingo Wireless, Breadware Inc., CareNodes, CivicFeed, Cornerstone OnDemand, Creative Spoons, DailyKarma, Developing Capacity Consulting, Dollar Shave Club, Elevate My Brand, Emblematic Group, Enplug, Everytable, Expy Health, FairClaims, FamiLeague, Inc., FareShare, FEARLESS World Building for Womxn, Fernish, FLATLAY Inc., Flavors from Afar, Golden, Grid110, Hawke Media, Heir Apparent, High Tide Tours, Holisticism, Honey, Hub101, Idealab, Jam City, Joymode, Kitchen Table App, Larta Institute, Launchmaps, Lumenus, Mahmee, MediaAlpha, Microsoft, MixR, Motiv, NailSnaps, NEXT Trucking, Nuyorktricity, Open Listings, Ozobot, Ping, Pledgeling, ScaleLA, Screen Door Labs, Soylent, SteelHouse, Symantec, TALA, Tastemade, TechMahindra, The Handoff Company, Thrive Market, Tradesy, Two Bit Circus, Virgin Hyperloop One, VNTANA, WeTransfer
ABOUT THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. To learn more about the Annenberg Foundation and their various initiatives, click here.
HBCUvc is a not-for-profit organization with a focus on building inclusive economies by increasing the racial diversity in venture capital. Our core program is a venture capital fellowship program for students attending historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Our comprehensive approach provides skills training, mentorship, and experience for students to jumpstart careers in innovation and make a difference in their communities.