Seeding diversity in venture capital

Diversity VC implemented Applied to manage their internship program which aims to increase diversity of thought in the VC space. Having successfully onboarded their first cohort with impressive diversity stats, the team are preparing to open applications for the second year.

The Venture Capital industry is not widely heralded for its diversity credentials, so Diversity VC is bringing a much-needed shakeup. It focuses on removing the inherent bias in this ‘who you know’ world by connecting the VC community to a broader network and helping firms hire from more diverse backgrounds so everybody wins.

The 2019 Future VC Internship Program was intentionally designed to attract candidates from outside the consulting, banking and equity backgrounds that VCs tend to hire from. They did this by swapping CVs and personal network referrals for applications that identified key attributes like curiosity, self-awareness and resilience. Candidates' answers were assessed anonymously, using Applied, making it almost impossible to be swayed by an individual’s history.

Seb Butt, Founder & Programme Director of Future VC which is run by Diversity VC, emphasised: “It’s the mindset behind the skills we were looking for rather than where, when or over what time period they were developed.”

This was about raw talent and not only did the process allow Diversity VC to identify the best candidates without the noise traditionally associated with a CV sift (such as which school a candidate went to, which part of town they live or even their name) it also made the process attractive to a more diverse group who likely wouldn’t have applied otherwise. On average, candidates rated the process 9/10, including those who had just found out they hadn’t been successful.

 

Outcome

"Against the backdrop of an overwhelmingly white, male, privately educated status quo, having 47% female, 70% BAME, 35% socioeconomically disadvantaged and 11% LGBT is all the more impressive. 

The quality of candidate was exceptional with many of the inaugural cohort having their internships extended and being invited into processes for long term roles. Several of the Future VC alumni at the time of writing are engaged in interview processes for analyst and associate roles within funds in the UK and Germany."

Due to this success, the 2020 program is expanding in length and number of open positions. Applications are expected to open in November 2019 – contact Seb if you are interested - seb@diversity.vc

About

Diversity VC is a non-profit partnership, made up of interested individuals working in venture capital, who seek to increase diversity of thought in the venture industry. The scheme has backers including Accel, Balderton, Forward Partners, Octopus, Bethnal Green Ventures and Kindred.

"The quality of candidate was exceptional"

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