CB Insights data featured prominently at a recent event by the White House and Google on the topic of diversity. Here's the 30+ page report.

By Jonathan Sherry (@jonathansherry), Co-founder of CB Insights

Last month we received a call from The White House and Google who were both very complimentary of the Venture Capital Human Capital Report we published in 2010.  This report analyzed the ethnic, racial, gender and educational backgrounds of founders of VC-backed companies.  It was a massive effort that married our industry-best private company financing and exit data (what we are known for today) with a lot of manual, analyst-driven work to understand the demographic characteristics of founders on a company-by-company basis.

The seminal report remains the first and only of its kind that breaks these stats down at a bottom-up company level and has been cited by hundreds of media outlets and organizations ranging from NPR to The Kauffman Foundation to CNN and helped to inform various policy and policy-related discussions on the topic.

Given the report, Google and The White House invited us to present our data & findings on June 3 to an audience in California that consisted of senior personnel from The White House Office of Science and Technology, Google, the Kapor Center For Social Impact, National Venture Capital Association, the Kauffman Foundation, Silicon Valley Bank and many others. This was all part of Google for Entrepreneurs’ NextWave initiative, which promotes tools and resources to underrepresented communities in the United States.

CB Insights kicked off the event with the below presentation which was then followed up by separate presentations from the NVCA and Kauffman Foundation regarding their current initiatives on the topic. This transitioned into an afternoon full of engaging and important discussion followed by commitments from each attending party as to how we can collectively move this forward.

We did the report early in our life as a company and little did we know that it would become such a catalyst for discussion five years later. It is extremely gratifying to see that it’s had an impact and that people are trying to bring data to this very important topic.

On a more personal level, as a founder and the point-person for hiring at CB Insights, this is an important topic for me and the company. We’ve been very fortunate and are very proud of the fact that we’ve built a diverse team at CB Insights and view it as one of our competitive advantages (BTW, we’re hiring ;-)

Key takeaways of the report include:
  • Only 1% of funded startup founders were Black, while they make up 11% of the overall US population
  • Only 8% of funded founders were female
  • Nearly half of funded founding teams averaged 35 to 44 years old, dispelling the impression that startups are purely a young person’s game


Next Steps

The NVCA and the Kauffman Foundation and others have separate initiatives in place to further data-driven reporting on diversity in venture capital and, more broadly, entrepreneurship.  We look forward to exploring how our data might be useful in these important efforts.

  • Gary Rikard

    The underlining problem is sources of funding for startups. Private equity is the highest of money. Imagine what would happen to the economy if 10% (vs 1%) of all startups pitching VC actually raised the funds they needed? It would be huge for an innovation economy. #radyschool #mba