Why we and four other VC funds launched the Model Code of Conduct for the Australian startup community

We are very lucky in Australia. While there are of course problems in general we are an inclusive, diverse community with a high quality of life. The startup community in general reflects this. Although as a nation we were relatively late to embrace innovation and technology, that gives us a very powerful opportunity to learn from other more advanced ecosystems to craft and design the community that is best in class.

We believe inclusion and diversity sits at the core of the ecosystem we want to be part of.

It would be wonderful to have an inclusive and welcoming community organically, the harsh reality is it requires attention — discussion, education, nurturing and clear guidelines.

Expectations and boundaries need to clear, and processes outlined, particularly in situations where behaviours fall outside of the acceptable boundaries. The starting principle is we accept what we are willing to walk past, and we as a fund and as a community are saying we will not walk past bad behaviour.

That’s why Rampersand VC has been part of the creation of a Code of Conduct for the Australian VC and accelerator community, together with our friends at Blackbird Ventures, Airtree Ventures, Square Peg Capital and Blue Sky Venture Capital.

We want to thank Sam Wong from Blackbird Ventures for driving this initiative. She has a great summary of how it came into being, the process so far and the model code itself here.

The Code of Conduct is for everyone. We are believe its important and an exciting step forward for the Australian startup community for two reasons.

The first is simply by the very act of acknowledging the possibility of harmful behaviour in our community, and that some groups are more likely to experience it than others. We let people know it’s not ok — both those who those who perpetrate it as well as those who have are hurt by it.

The second is there needs to be a process for if and when someone acts in a way that is harmful to others. For this to exist in a transparent way, we needed a code of conduct. We hope this gives people the clarity and confidence to initiate a conversation and process if they have been treated badly.

We are proud to be part of this movement. The funds involved will be versioning and evolving the Code of Conduct as over the coming months and years to ensure it is the best it can be.

Like everything, this is a work in progress, so we as a group welcome any feedback and suggestions on the Code itself, and in general on initiatives that can and should be done to make Startup Aus a better and more inclusive place for all.

Moving forward.