Zeroth’s pledge to equality

We’re proud of our diversity of CEOs and companies, including 4 female founders in the first cohort Z01 alone. One of the companies, DT42, is over 60% female with co-founder, AI researcher, and an engineer as part of the team.

Despite our record, I would argue that we need to do more, not less. We need to show leadership in providing a safe place for our existing and future community. We need to show that this topic matters to us and that we can grow from it. That will make the Zeroth community stronger over time.

Some of the things we’ve done:

  • talk about this amongst the internal Zeroth team
  • look at how companies set standards, including the US Army, #Decency pledge, and others
  • read Cheryl’s and Brittany’s articles and participate in conversations with outsiders, at 500 as well

Ultimately there seems to be two issues at heart: 1) understanding & aligning standards, and 2) reporting

  1. Understanding and alignment of values:

At Zeroth, there is zero tolerance for verbal, gender, or racial harassment. There is zero tolerance for sexual bribery, coercion, and/or imposition. Whatever the setting, whether professional or social, we will hold ourselves to these standards constantly.

In the scenario where there could be an interpretation of attraction, our standard is to disclose this directly to the other party. If the other party does not reciprocate, the matter is dropped.

In essence, I love Leo’s conclusion:

2) Reporting:

We have just set up an anonymous google form at, that links directly to Zeroth’s investors and female founders in the Zeroth community. This link will be published on our new website for easy visibility.

I nor anybody in the Zeroth team have access to this form. Any and all abuses of power will be submitted anonymously, and further investigation and dialogue will be taken.

I welcome any comments on the actions we are taking. I believe that we are making progress, and as a team and as an industry, we will become stronger from this.

Lastly, I want to thank 500 Startups for this opportunity to learn. For full disclosure they are our investors, but more than that the team with Christine Tsai, Vishal Harnal, Marvin Liao, Edith, James Riney, Tim Chae and others have approached Dave’s actions swiftly and confidently. They are not perfect, but we support this time of cultural change for them, this moment of self reflection. This will, in turn, make them stronger, as it has made all of us in the industry.

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