It’s been just over a year since I wrote about betting my career on LA tech. Since then, it’s become clear to me that my work as a VC and my efforts to further develop our city are inseparable. I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to bring out the best in LA. Today is a major step in that process.
I’m proud to announce that I have been named Chairman of the Advisory Committee for PledgeLA, a collective commitment from the tech community to better reflect and support the creativity and diversity of Los Angeles.
In October of 2018, VCs across the city came together to launch PledgeLA alongside Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Annenberg Foundation. I had the privilege of sharing a few words on behalf of the venture community.
The Pledge was born out of the ideas of a diverse group of investors, founders, and civic leaders. We distilled months of discussion and interviews with dozens of people into three simple commitments:
To increase our community engagement by supporting organizations that are making a difference throughout Los Angeles.
To actively and continuously improve equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of our organizations and in our investment decisions.
To hold ourselves accountable by measuring and transparently reporting on our progress and impact on these outcomes.
We’re supporting the future of this city. But to be clear, PledgeLA is not out to become the civic and diversity police to our tech community. I have no desire to force or guilt investors and startup founders into adopting policies they don’t believe will benefit them. I am, however, an avid promoter of the tangible benefits of community engagement, diversity, and inclusion. I firmly believe that LA’s business leaders who prioritize these considerations are the ones who will thrive in our city in 2019 and beyond.
This is why I am so excited for the 100+ LA based venture capital firms and tech companies that have already committed to the Pledge. While there is still much work ahead, these firms should stand proud. They are preparing to shape our city’s workforce for decades to come.
Going forward, the role of PledgeLA is to support these businesses by equipping them with the data, tools, and guidance to fulfill their pledge. PledgeLA has already begun the work of collecting data on where we are today, which will serve as the starting point by which we’ll measure progress. We’ll release our initial findings in the coming months, but that’s only the beginning of activities we have planned for this year.
We can’t do it alone. We hope to have even more local investors and tech companies commit to the Pledge. We also know there are a lot of people out there working toward similar goals locally and across the nation. PledgeLA loves to collaborate so please reach out!
I’m excited as ever to continue my work as a VC, backing founders building great companies. But in this additional role as Chairman of PledgeLA, I’m equal parts humbled and proud to serve our city and the business leaders who have committed to the Pledge.
To get involved or for more information check out the PledgeLA website.
A special thank you to Rick Smith of Crosscut Ventures for first introducing me to the civic and diversity task force, which was the informal group that created the foundation for PledgeLA.