I love this, it really speaks to me. I’m a straight white male with an electrical & computer engineering degree, so lots of people assume that VCs just basically throw checks in my direction, but that’s not at all true.
I’m from the Midwest, I work in an industry that has traditionally been neglected for investment capital, and I come from a background of poverty that means I started about a thousand steps behind the starting line for the average Bay area entrepreneur. Make no mistake, whatever privilege my ethnicity and gender have provided, other dynamics have taken away. There’s a reason entrepreneurship has been disparaged as being for the children of the rich, the frustrating reality is that for the most part, entrepreneurship is only available to the children of the rich, unless the entrepreneur has the drive and willingness to make extreme sacrifices.
If you’ve had few advantages, and you’re being compared to people who’ve had nothing but advantages, it’s extremely hard to look good, even if you did 10x better than your peers could have if they’d been in the same circumstances. There’s no regression analysis to do an apples to apples comparison to control these variables among the cohort. And access to advantages (or lack thereof) is compounding, because access to advantages provides access to more advantages, and the longer someone goes without opportunity, the more impossible it becomes to catch up, no matter how hard you work.
Inclusivity isn’t just about gender or family of origin (though those are extremely important concerns), inclusivity is also about including people from different geographic areas, in different markets, with different family histories, and with limited means.
Glad to hear about this Zebra movement and looking forward to finding a place that tends towards inclusion instead of exclusion. :)