Disclaimer: This post is not about the wealthy 1%.
This post aims to bring attention to another community that I call “The 1%” — the Latinx Venture Capitalist (VCs) who represent only 1% of all the VCs in the U.S. even though the Latinx community represents 18% of the U.S. population. Once the latest diversity in venture capital figures were released, I wasn’t surprised to see the low levels of diversity in venture capital — that was expected. What was astonishing to see was that the figure HAD NOT CHANGED AT ALL since I was a venture capitalist 4 years ago. For me, this was a huge call to action to help drive change.
As a result, a few of my colleagues at Silicon Valley Bank and I decided to reach out to Latinx VCs to build community and to better support this small but mighty contingency going forward. And what did we find? An amazing group of investors that work in a variety of funds, both large and small, on both coasts and in middle America — with a tremendous energy as they continue to build inroads and pave the way for future Latinx investors. This blog post showcases my community and reports on the findings of a survey we initiated to assess the current state of representation of the Latinx community in the venture capital industry.
Our plan this year had two major components.
Step One: Identify ALL of the Latinx VCs in the U.S. and get to know them — either in person or by phone. Before setting off to make change, we thought it was critical to go on a “listening tour” to hear the major pain points in an effort to find solutions while also ensuring that the existing community knows each other so they can offer support. We hosted dinners in San Francisco and New York and have identified over 125 Latinx VCs to date! Their energy and excitement in connecting with each other has been amazing and the aggregate number of Latinx VCs was actually much larger than I anticipated. Lastly, we also sponsored the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Investors Forum which connected Latinx VCs with potential limited partners; a critical connection to make in order to spur additional Latinx VCs.
Step Two: Benchmark ourselves to ensure we can track progress going forward. The below survey results were answered by 43 of the 125 Latinx VCs (a 34% response rate!) which gives us a great initial representation of the community.
Continuing the Momentum for Change
Latinx VCs are still in the early days of being appropriately represented in the venture capital community with 62% of survey respondents being in the industry for 5 years or less and 67% of respondents working at funds with committed capital of $50 million or less. BUT we are a resilient group and committed to stay in the industry — 90% of respondents still see themselves in VC in the next 5–10 years.
We are still in the process of completing our listening tour but expect continued efforts by me and my colleagues in 2020 and beyond. And if you are a Latinx VC and we haven’t yet connected, please reach out so that I can better support you!