What Diversity Looks Like in Corporate Venture Capital Today

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Over the past several years, the corporate venture capital ecosystem has increasingly embraced diversity investing.

Wendell Brooks, president of Intel Capital, said recently that it had ​already met its 2020 goal for diversity. The number of diversity investments at Intel Capital has increased to 22% in 2017 to 6% in 2015. In all, Intel has invested $70 million in diversity startups. The company started a $125 million Diversity Fund in 2015.

McKinsey & Co., in its January 2015 “Diversity Matters” report found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. In addition, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

And yet, CB Insights, in a June 2015 report, found that only 1% of funded startup founders were black, while they make up 11% of the overall US population, that only 8% of funded founders were female, and that nearly half of funded founding teams averaged 35 to 44 years old, “dispelling the impression that startups are purely a young person’s game,” the report said.

Corporate venture arms seem to do better for the inclusion of women compared to other VCs. In 2016, the Crunchbase Women in Venture report showed that women held just under 12% of the partner roles at both accelerators and corporate venture firms. In its 2017 report, women now hold 15% of the partner roles at accelerators and corporate venture firms, a 25% improvement in 18 months. Compare this to the overall top 100 venture firms (including CVCs), where the percentage of women partners edged up to 8% in 2017 from 7% in 2016 — an increase of 17%.

Intel isn’t alone its diversity push. AOL and Comcast have launched diversity funds in past years. Last September, Salesforce Ventures introduced a $50 million Impact Fund looking to invest in companies that enable equal access to education, develop tools to promote equal opportunity and economic empowerment for women and underrepresented groups, as well as companies in sustainability and nonprofits or NGOs.

It is not only CVCs that are promoting diversity. The National Venture Capital Association announced last September a plan to help address harassment, diversity, and inclusion in overall venture capital. Its initial focus is on updating its sample HR policies and developing HR best practices for others.