Announcing AllRaise.Org

Today, we are thrilled to announce the launch of All Raise.

All Raise is a new non-profit organization founded by 34 senior female investors, dedicated to diversity in funders & founders.

We believe in a world where the tech industry is driven by a diverse group of leaders, because people of all different backgrounds should have the opportunity to participate, shape, and succeed in the founding, funding, and building of technology-driven companies.

Our mission is simple — to accelerate the success of female funders and founders. We believe that by improving the success of women in the venture-backed tech ecosystem, we can build a more accessible community that reflects the diversity of the world around us.

How All Raise Came To Be

Last year, the tech ecosystem was rocked by serial incidents of harassment, bias and exclusion. Susan Fowler wrote a seminal post about her experience working at Uber. News broke about Justin Caldbeck, a partner who worked at 3 different VC firms. Bad behavior caused the removal of the CEOs of SoFi, Uber, BetterWorks, and others.

That summer, I sent an email to a group of partner-level female VC friends:

“Guessing we all have the same feelings..the stuff about the gender power dynamic and lack of women in VC is just not OK. We have a window to come up with changes…could we get together to brainstorm constructive ways to improve our industry faster?”

The response was amazing. Within 48 hours, every person was in. The sentiment was consistent, constructive, and optimistic.

Ahead of meeting, we brainstormed ideas in a Google Doc. Then we had an incredibly productive 3 hour working dinner. We walked out of that first meeting with a set of goals and 5 working groups staffed by VC women.

Now our group meets monthly. We have 11 working groups, each with 2 co-captains and 5–6 active members, each designed to rapidly ship initiatives aligned with our vision, mission and shared goals.

One thought is “wow, a small group of volunteers can really make impact in 6 months.” And: “Who said a bunch of VCs can’t actually ship something!”

Our Key Initiatives

Over the last 6 months, the All Raise team has been hard at work launching initiatives such as Female Founder Office Hours, Founders for Change, and Women in VC community events.

Today we’re excited to share three new initiatives: Where are the Numbers, The Diverse Candidate Database and our Women + LP networking events.

  • Female Founder Office Hours — This team shipped first and set the bar high with a half day session for female founders to get 1:1 mentoring sessions with women VCs. Since then we’ve expanded to 5 events across SF, NYC, LA, and Boston. We’ve received over 1,500 applications from female founders, held over 200 1:1 meetings, and we have an 81 NPS from attendees. We have exciting new developments to announce in just a few weeks about the expansion of Female Founder Office Hours, so stay tuned.

Women in Venture community events — One of the challenges for women in a 91% male industry is exclusion from important informal and formal social networks where VCs swap insights, build familiarity, and share deal flow. To help even the playing field for women, we’ve started hosting Women in Venture community events to help women in venture be more successful. We held our first event in the Bay Area, with 100 attendees representing 78 different funds from associate through GP. Our event NPS was 100 (yeah, doesn’t happen, we know!). For me, it was energizing to see so many women in venture in one single room there to help and learn from each other after years of being one of a handful or the only at any given event.

  • Founders for Change — In the past year, many of us heard feedback from founders on the importance of diversity: “Why do so many VC websites look like ‘Mad Men’?”; “We want to work with a firm that shares our values and values diversity.” These collective conversations made us realize the next generation of founders understands that diversity & inclusion is better for business. #FoundersForChange is a movement by modern founders and CEOs who are committed to diversity in their teams, boards, and cap tables. Since launch 2 weeks ago, over 700 founders from seed stage thru public tech companies have committed, including the founders of Airbnb, Dropbox, Lyft, Instagram, StitchFix, Eventbrite, and more.
  • Where are the Numbers— You can’t move what you don’t measure. Our data team set out to more deeply analyze the numbers and to identify systemic issues plaguing the tech ecosystem. Our findings are captured here. Based on our numbers, AllRaise has identified two clear goals to work toward — 1) Double the percentage of female investment partners at tech VC firms over the next 10 years (one fund cycle) and 2) Increase the venture funding going to teams with a female co-founder from 15 to 25% in 5 years (this number has plateaued over the last 4 years).
  • Diverse VC Candidate Database — Today VC hiring is done quietly and through personal networks, which can lead to teams lacking in diversity. To help fix that, we’re launching the Diverse Candidate Database, a friendly posting service for firms looking to add diverse candidates to their ranks. If you’re a VC firm with open positions, we encourage you to post your job descriptions. If you’re a diverse candidate interested in venture, we encourage you to sign up for our email list to receive notifications of open VC positions.
  • Women + LP Networking events — Limited partner support is a critical piece to the long term success of diversity efforts in the tech and venture capital industries. To that end, we have been hosting a series of conversations with LP thought leaders and will be hosting a larger event in the coming months to catalyze broader LP support.

After shipping more than we imagined, our scrappy side hustle has shown product-market fit. The positive feedback from founders, tech execs, VCs and LPs has confirmed there is a growing desire across tech to play a positive role and eject the bad behavior of the past.

It’s time to give it a name, professionalize, and scale. What started as series of results-oriented working dinners is now a non-profit organization called All Raise.

How You Can Help

We’re just getting started, and need all the help we can get. If you believe in the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech, we’d love you to get involved:

  • Amplify, participate in, and share the All Raise mission. Start a conversation about diversity and inclusion at your firm or your startup. Join the #FoundersforChange movement. Send great female founders you know to Female Female Founder Offices. Add open positions at VC firms to our Diverse Candidate Database. Join us for a conversation if you’re an LP looking to back diverse GPs. Volunteer to help.
  • Help us find a few key full-time hires to lead our efforts and build our community. Our first priority is an Executive Director for All Raise, with experience working in a venture-backed startup or in VC. We hope to build a big, inclusive tent that includes women, men, minorities and people in the tech ecosystem who want to be part of a positive change.
  • We’re looking for sponsors, donors, and partners to support our efforts. Until now, we and our firms have been covering the costs of our events and software, plus supporting our many hours of sweat equity to get things off the ground. The sweat equity / labor of love from all of us will continue, but we hope to raise meaningful funding to accelerate and sustain our impact. If you’re interested, contact us at hello@allraise.org or donate via Paypal here.

A Final Thanks

Last but not least, we’d like to thank the many brave women who have come forward at great personal risk to shine light on issues many had not believed to be true. Your bravery created an opportunity and a window for change to happen. Your courage gave us courage, and thus AllRaise was born.

Sincerely,

The All Raise Founders

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