Ten venture capital firms have committed to include a "diversity rider" — a promise to startups that they made their best effort to find underrepresented investors — in their deals.

The project was the brainchild of Alejandro Guerrero, a partner at Los Angeles-based Act One Ventures and the child of Mexican immigrants, who often found he was the only person of color in the room when investment deals north of six figures were being made.

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There's the accelerators and female-founder dinners. Throw in the hyped-up "pledges" rallying public support for inclusion. But, for all the female focused co-working spaces in Los Angeles, the startup scene remains a male-dominated game.

The data tells the story. Female founders received fewer than 10% of venture capital deals in Los Angeles last year, according to an analysis by dot.LA using data provided by PitchBook. When it came to the money, women got even less. Only 2% of the $8 billion in venture capital that poured into Los Angeles companies last year went to female-founded companies. The numbers have moved only a fraction of a percent over the years.

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It was a rocky start to the year for Chris Violas, CEO of a growing software startup that services the cannabis industry. Violas got the kind of news that no one really wants to hear: Their payment processor, Stripe, had dumped them.

That meant they couldn't get paid.

"We're not selling weed over here, we're selling software," said Violas, CEO and co-founder of Newport Beach-based BLAZE. "But it's because people keep track of all their weed in our software" that "they wiped their hands."

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