New LA Project Will Measure Diversity Among Tech and Venture Capital Firms
The Los Angeles region is among the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country and experienced a 120% increase last year in venture capital funding over four years earlier. So it is very significant that venture capital firms in the tech industry are committing themselves to civic engagement and diversity as part of a new project launched Monday by the Annenberg Foundation and the city of Los Angeles. More than 80 firms have joined PledgeLA -- a partnership that will publicly track the tech industry’s civic participation and diversity. One of the first steps for PledgeLA signatories will be to complete a survey detailing their civic contribution and diversity, and the aggregated data will be shared publicly. Signatories have agreed to report on their composition by race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability status, immigration status, veteran status, educational attainment, socioeconomic origin, and tenure at a firm. PledgeLA participants will also need a code of conduct around diversity and inclusion and are required to privilege diversity in corporate hiring practices. After that, the Annenberg Foundation and Mayor’s office will work with the firms to set goals, create metrics for improvement, and serve as an intermediary to connect funders and companies to diversified talent. “Investing in a diverse array of founders, looking for talent in all corners of the city, and bringing different voices to the table when making decisions on investments is just smart business,” said Kobie Fuller, Partner at Upfront Ventures, one of the firms that signed on to PledgeLA. “We know companies with a diverse workforce are more successful, which, in turn, increases community engagement and provides opportunities for the community-at-large. PledgeLA will put Los Angeles on the right trajectory.” Will other cities work with investors and the tech industry to do the same? Stay tuned. More here.