NEVCA Statement on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

We were outraged to read the article in The Information describing the alleged predatory behavior of a male venture capitalist towards female entrepreneurs. On the heels of recent scandals, this incident paints a picture of a misogynistic start-up culture where women are systematically discriminated against and under assault.

The New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) and its Board of Directors is 100% clear on these issues. We strive to create an open, transparent and welcome environment where individuals of all genders, ethnicity, nationalities and sexual preferences can thrive. We are an innovation community that prides itself on diversity. We recognize that we have work to do to achieve this vision throughout our innovation economy and across our venture capital firms, accelerators, startups and growth companies. We are committed unequivocally to pursuing this mission and leading by example.

In recognition of our commitment to stamp out discrimination and gender bias in all of its ugly forms, the New England Venture Capital Association pledges to:

  1. Invite our members to sign an “Anti-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Statement”, whereby each of our venture capital firm members is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment in which no member of our startup community is, on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, nationality, or gender identity, discriminated against or ostracized. Each firm pledges to have zero tolerance for any form of sexual harassment, unwelcome conduct or gender based harassment.
  2. Establish, in consultation with Human Resource specialists, a designated, specially-trained member of the startup community to serve as the equivalent of a “Title IX coordinator” to serve in a neutral role and respond to disclosures of potential sexual or gender-based harassment.
  3. Organize a seminar and training program on conscious and unconscious bias. The program will be hosted by members of our Board and will provide opportunities to learn about the common biases that we all develop as well as strategies for recognizing and overcoming them.
  4. Double down on our efforts to scale Hack.Diversity, a program we launched earlier this year to bring more black and Hispanic engineers into our innovation economy. The first wave of sixteen interns is working this summer at the five founding companies (Carbonite, DataXu, Hubspot, Vertex, and Wayfair), who have undertaken Diversity and Inclusion Training in order to develop a more robust and inclusive environment. We aspire to scale this innovative program dramatically in the next two years.

We welcome every entrepreneur, investor and innovation community inhabitant to join us in these efforts to create an environment of equality and respect for all. These four initiatives won’t eliminate the problem overnight, but they represent thoughtful, meaningful action by our community. Study after study shows that diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams. Our position is in recognition that it is both the right moral stance and the right economic development strategy. No one should be made to feel unwelcome or unsafe in Startupland.

The following companies and leaders have signed on to support:

Firms
Atlas Venture, Bain Capital Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, CHT4 Corporation, Converge, Cosimo Ventures, CRV, Flybridge, Founder Collective, G20, General Catalyst, Glasswing VC, Highland Capital Partners, Launch Capital, Longwood Fund, Material Impact, Millworks Fund MVM Life Science Partners LLC., NEA, Nextview, Omega Funds, Operator.VC, Oyster Angel Fund, Pillar VC, Romulus, Saturn Partners, Schooner Capital, SigmaPrime Ventures, Underscore VC, XFactor Ventures

LPs
Tiger Iron Capital

Individuals
Adam Sharkaway, Andy Palmer, Bob Hower, Brian Halligan, Brian M. Gallagher, C.A. Webb, Carmichael Roberts, Charles Terrill, Cory Munchbach, David Beisel, David Chang, Dayna Grayson, Denise Hamilton, Elizabeth Hitchcock, Ellen Rubin, Emily Reichert, Eric Paley, Gray Chynoweth, Jack Derby, Jamie Goldstein, Jason Rhodes, Jeff Bussgang, Jennifer Jordan, Jodi Goldstein, Johannes Fruehauf, Jules Pieri, Katie Burke, Kevin Bitterman, Kirstan Barnett, Maia Heymann, Michael Davies, Michelle Dipp, Mike Troiano, Mike Volpe, Mohamad Ali, Murat Bicer, Neil Exter, Parul Singh, Rick Grinnell, Rudina Seseri, Russ Wilcox, Sarah Fay, Sarah Hodges, Scott Friend, Steve Kraus, Yoav Shapira, Yumin Choi

Companies
The Bowdoin Group, BlueConic, Carbonite, Catalant, ClearSky Data, Cooley LLP, Endeavour Partners, Flare Jewelry, Greentown Labs, Hubspot, Integrated Yield Solutions, Inc., KoaLabs, LabCentral, Rapid7, Tamr, TechSandBox, The Grommet

Please get in touch with us to take action and/or join individuals and companies who stand with us, by emailing info@newenglandvc.org.

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