Diversity VC Releases Report Uncovering New Data and Discrepancies of Venture Capital-Backed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Investments

  • 9. November 2022
  • Surveys over 200 individual U.S. funds in partnership with Penn State University
  • Sample represents $31.8 billion in combined assets under management (AUM)
  • Only 1.87% is actually dedicated to diversity, equity and including (DEI) investments

New York — November 9, 2022
— Diversity VC, the global non-profit founded to build a more diverse and inclusive VC ecosystem, announced today its third edition U.S. report – The Equity Record – which evaluates asset allocation of venture capital (VC) funds towards underrepresented minorities (URM) and women. Diversity VC partnered with Penn State University to survey over 200 individual funds located in the United States, representing more than $31.8 billion in combined assets under management (AUM). AWS and SVB supported Diversity VC in the development of the report. 

Key Findings

One of the report’s most compelling findings show that, out of the combined $31.8 billion in AUM, only 1.87% (or about $582 million) is dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) investments with $2.2 billion in combined AUM coming from funds identified as DEI.

“While DEI investments have garnered broader attention from the industry, the amount actually invested into DEI strategies does not add up,” said Sarah Millar, Chief Operating Officer at Diversity VC. “The Equity Record surfaces the continuing inequities of capital allocation to underrepresented minorities and women, from the perspective of general partners raising capital and founders seeking aligned investors. It’s clear the money is out there – our data dives deeper into the disconnect.”

Key findings also show that diversity-related funds are dramatically underfunded when compared to their peers, and that underrepresented minorities and women remain low among general partners (GPs). In addition, DEI funds are significantly smaller than their non DEI counterparts, highlighting an average $57 million versus $345 million. DEI mandate focused funds remain focused on black and women founders, followed by LatinX and LGBTQ+. While disability was included in the survey, zero responses were received for this category.

Foundation

The Equity Record builds on Diversity VC’s previous reports published in 2019 and 2021 – Diversity in U.S. Startups – which investigated the profiles of founding teams receiving venture capital financing from the most active funds in the U.S. Diversity VC found that VC-backed startups were still disproportionately men (89.3%), white (71.6%), based in Silicon Valley (35.3%) and Ivy League-educated (13.7%), with very little change in data in two years.

“The VC industry can be very opaque when it comes to capital flow impacting how investment decisions are made,” said Marketing and Partnership Lead at Diversity VC Aisling Carlson. “In developing our third U.S. report, we knew we needed to evaluate how DEI is driving investment decisions, especially on the part of both general partners and limited partners. The Equity Record serves as a pivotal starting point, and we believe that it will drive critical discussion towards more consistent, sustainable change.”

Methodology

Diversity VC partnered with economists and researchers from Penn State University to trace the flow of capital to and through VC funds, with a focus on funds managed by underrepresented minorities, funds managed by women and funds with a DEI investment mandate. The survey was conducted across a period of four months, resulting in 213 VCs evaluated in total. The report explores specific research objectives with respect to DEI-related funds, including:

  • Understand the demographic makeup of venture capital partners (general and limited).
  • Estimate the amount of capital invested into diversity-related funds.
  • Determine what percentage of partners’ portfolios is allocated to diversity.
  • Determine whether capital for diversity investment has been earmarked for this use.

Industry Support

Diversity VC secured sponsorship from leading financial institutions and global technology organizations, including SVB and Amazon Web Services, to support the development and launch of the report.

“The venture capital community is enormously influential and holds tremendous power to shape the future of our society,” said Tosh Ernest, Head of Access to Innovation, SVB’s signature program designed to help advance women, Black and Latinx individuals to positions of influence in the innovation economy. “We are proud to sponsor Diversity VC and this new research, which helps us to continue to analyze whether recent DEI capital commitments are having the intended impact and fosters important discussion necessary to improve access to capital.”

“Uncovering evidence that shows the systemic shortcomings of venture capital in supporting innovations and businesses led by women and minority founders is the first step in making meaningful change—that’s why we backed this report,” said Howard Wright, VP and Global Head of AWS Startups. “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. Creating a drumbeat of significant data like this and sharing blueprints for intentional efforts such as Amazon Catalytic Capital and AWS Impact Accelerator, among others, are crucial to encourage the industry to lean in.”

Call to Action

“We challenge every stakeholder in the VC ecosystem to use DEI as a lens for asset allocation,” closed Millar. “The inequities that have kept underrepresented minorities and women from claiming a proper share of the marketplace can no longer be ignored – our data reinforces this.”

To download the report, head to diversity.vc/diversity-vc-report-2022-usa. For more information on Diversity VC, visit diversity.vc. If you are interested in supporting Diversity VC’s work, email the team at us@diversity.vc.

About Diversity VC

Diversity VC is a 501(c3) founded by venture capital professionals who are dedicated to working with entrepreneurs, investors and universities to create an industry that is free from bias. Diversity VC’s reports exist to bring transparency to government and allocators of capital using original data and with thought leadership on diversity and inclusion in VC and tech, and to empower communities with tools and resources to promote it. Diversity VC’s core initiatives include benchmarking for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) best practices (The Standard), industry reporting and guidance (Resources), career development for underrepresented candidates (Pathways), and a diverse learning network for VC professionals (Community). For more information on Diversity VC, visit diversity.vc.

About SVB

SVB is the financial partner of the innovation economy, helping individuals, investors and the world’s most innovative companies achieve their ambitious goals. SVB’s businesses - Silicon Valley Bank, SVB Capital, SVB Private and SVB Securities - together offer the services that dynamic and fast-growing clients require as they grow, including commercial banking, venture investing, wealth planning and investment banking. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, SVB operates in centers of innovation around the world. Learn more at svb.com/global.

Amazon Web Services, Underrepresented Founder Startup Business Development

Amazon Web Services (AWS) established the Underrepresented Founder (URF) Startup Business Development (BD) team in 2020 to deepen our intentional focus on accelerating businesses led by founders that belong to a group that the venture industry as a whole underinvests in relative to the percent of the overall population. This includes founders that are women as well as people of color, including those of African, Latin American, or Native American descent, and individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+. We developed this effort after diving deep into data that demonstrates a critical lack of investment in underrepresented founders. The URF Startup BD team is part of the AWS Startup business team, which strives to earn trust by building relationships with underrepresented founders early in their business lifecycle. We engage underrepresented founders through partners, events, and programs, as well as through high-touch engagements, such as technical office hours. Our vision is to democratize access to tools and resources to all founders, regardless of where they sit in the world or how they identify.

Link to Press Kit HERE

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