Top Venture Industry Group Launches Nonprofit to Add Diversity to its Ranks

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.

Top Venture Industry Group Launches Nonprofit to Add Diversity to its Ranks

As the country reckons with racial inequity forced to the fore by the George Floyd protests, the National Venture Capital Association launched a nonprofit Tuesday with a focus on building diversity.

Dubbed Venture Forward, the $5.5 million effort had been in the works for years and is being backed by Silicon Valley Bank, Deloitte and Gunderson Dettmer along with dozens of individuals.


The 501(c)(3) will help the industry that bankrolls startups and prides itself on fueling innovation to diversify its ranks.

"It's a long term sustainable way to think about how we are shaping the human capital, the culture, the values and the narrative of venture," said Maryam Haque, the executive director of Venture Forward.

The effort has already been underway and was supposed to be announced in March but was pushed back because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The venture will focus on four areas: diversity and inclusion, education, research and history.

"(Venture) has traditionally not been a very diverse and inclusive ecosystem," she said. "We have seen more progress in terms of women partners coming into roles at venture firms, but it's been very little to no progress when you look at partners that are black or Latinx."

The industry has been dominated by white men. Along with the rest of the nation, it's facing a moment of self reflection. Among the programs are an online university with scholarships geared to those underrepresented in venture.

About 21% of investment professionals in the industry are women, up 6 percentage points from 2016

Venture Forward has a separate board from NVCA. Board members include Christy Chin of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Bobby Franklin of NVCA, Jennifer Friel Goldstein of Silicon Valley Bank, Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures, Ray Leach of JumpStart, Kate Mitchell of Scale Venture Partners and Scott Sandell of NEA.

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Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

​Diankha Linear
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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Dreamscape, LinQuest and PetDX Gain New CEOs

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: ADARx Pharmaceuticals Lands $46M, PLAI Labs Scores $32M
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