IW’s commitment to building a Diverse, Equitable, & Inclusive startup community

A few months ago IW engaged a third-party market research firm to help Innovation Works anonymously collect demographic data on our portfolio company founders and CEOs. We believe that by asking our company founders to share how they identify, IW can gain valuable insight into who we are supporting and how we can best share our entrepreneurial services with the broadest audience.

Innovation Works’ programs, team and practices reflect our deep commitment to inclusive innovation and we would like to share the results with you. Though every individual response is kept confidential, we’ve compiled the aggregate data into an infographic you can find here. I’ve included a few summary points below.

What were the survey results?

With the survey, 212 IW portfolio companies from the past 10 years responded — totaling an 80% response rate. From those responses, we found that 60% of IW’s investments over the last 10 years have gone to startups with a founder or leader who is a woman and/or person of color.

That percentage of companies that have founders or leaders that identify with various groups breaks down as follows (and keep in mind that respondents might identify as more than one demographic):

● 34% woman;

● 40% person of color;

● 20% Asian;

● 14% Black/African American; and

● 6% Hispanic/Latinx.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a priority for IW. We know that by centering inclusion in all our efforts, a wider group brings their ideas and talents to product development, markets, and problem-solving — often outperforming companies that are less diverse. This survey is just a part of IW’s ongoing, multifaceted DEI efforts as well as the advice we provide startups on creating a powerful culture that leads to success. In fact, bringing greater diversity to our own board and staff has been an important focus for IW, taken over a number of years. You can find more information on the programs we are currently working on at this frequently asked questions link.

We hope that you continue to engage with us as we launch initiatives that bring together existing and new programs, with an aim of building a more inclusive and equitable innovation ecosystem in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Rich Lunak, CEO, Innovation Works



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Innovation Works

Innovation Works

Innovation Works is one of the nation’s most active seed funds. AlphaLab (AL), ALGear, and ALHealth are nationally ranked startup accelerator programs of IW.