Anthemis Insights
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Anthemis Insights

Anthemis Announces Office Hours for Founders of Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage

It’s hard to generalize the experiences of the Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora. We have arrived at broad groupings such as AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) and BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) by way of solidarity and necessity — which John Oliver explored brilliantly three months ago — that are helpful and unhelpful in equal parts.

Generalizing our community masks the diversity of lived experiences across a vast number of different ethnicities, races, religions and cultures. My experiences as a second generation Indian-American are surely more different than similar to that of a third generation Japanese, or a first generation Sri Lankan, or even another Indian-American. But we are indeed all AAPIs.

Generalization has also allowed those of us in the tech and Venture Capital (VC) industries to convince ourselves that we have created an industry and environment that is fair and equitable to Asian and Pacific Islanders. We can point to the very public success of Sundar, Satya or Jensen. And, statistically, Asians are over-represented, relative to our population, among startup founders (Kaufman Fellows / MaC Capital) as well as VC investment professionals (Deloitte).

But, when you dig below the surface of these statistics, you find holes in the narrative. The distribution of capital continues to disadvantage API founders. “Ethnically diverse founders have less access to capital” (Kaufman Fellows / MaC Capital). This is surely in part because “​​U.S. asset management firms owned by Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) manage just 0.7% of capital in the industry” (Deloitte).

Plus, the path to senior management positions is fraught. “Asian Americans are the least likely racial group to be promoted into Silicon Valley’s management and executive levels, even though they are the most likely to be hired into high-tech jobs” (Harvard Business Review). And, unequally so: “East Asians are less likely than South Asians and whites to attain leadership roles” (MIT).

Set this against a backdrop of increasing violence and racism directed at the Asian and Pacific Islander diaspora in the wake of COVID, and it’s clear there is still much work to be done.

That is why I’m very proud that Anthemis is partnering with over 30 other investors to hold Office Hours for founders of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage on October 14th. Founders: Consider this a safe environment in which to be seen and heard authentically. I encourage you to use it to seek funding, get advice and test ideas.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have hosted Office Hours focused on female entrepreneurs, LGBTQ+ founders and Black founders. These events generated nearly 500 matches between investors and founders.

At Anthemis, diversity is core to our DNA. Currently, 17 percent of our employees are of Asian or Pacific Island heritage, 51 percent of our employees are women and 11 percent identify as LGBTQ+. Our team represents 14 nationalities, and 16 languages are spoken.

I also welcome founders, investors, creators, and builders from the diaspora to reach out to me directly (vinay@anthemis.com and on Twitter @hey__vinay). I pledge to be helpful wherever I can be, and honest when I can’t.

Apply for the Office Hours event here.

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Vinay Singh

VC investor @Anthemis + Partner @Archer_Gray. Passionate about empowering creators, increasing transparency in media, and telling important stories.