Diversity in Venture Capital - Project Launch

On 23rd May, some of the UK’s leading VCs came together to discuss an important topic: ‘Women in UK Venture Capital.' The event launched a first of its kind research study and report conducted by Diversity VC with data provided by Craft and supported by the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA).

The event hosted by Silicon Valley Bank kicked off with Phil Cox, Head of EMEA and India for SVB sharing his delight and support for this initiative and welcoming the hugely diverse audience that was in attendance.

Next up was Travis Winstanley, co-founder of Diversity VC, who shared the report’s key findings with the audience:

According to the study, which examined the composition of teams at 160 UK Venture Capital firms, women represent 13% of investment decision makers. In addition, 48% of firms have no women in their investment teams, and 66% of firms have no women in their decision-making teams.

After these sobering findings were announced, the event continued with a panel led by Arjun Kharpal from CNBC, with guests Kelsey Lynn Skinner, Director Technology Ventures at Touchstone Innovations; Alice Bentinck, Co-founder of Entrepreneur First; Reshma Sohoni, Partner at Seedcamp and Harry Briggs, Partner at BGF Ventures.

The speakers brought personal insights and stark experiences of the lack of diversity throughout the technology innovation sector, including that the nature of the problem challenges its own solution - a homogeneous group in power almost inevitably struggles to distribute that power beyond itself. They also agreed that while improving diversity is often declared a high priority across the industry, there is often a feeling that more urgent, immediate problems have to take precedence, so achieving team diversity becomes secondary.

The event ended with Francesca Warner, co-founder of Diversity VC and investor at Downing Ventures emphasizing that the report is not an end but a beginning - towards a stated goal of "20% women in UK VC by 2020". That’s a 7% increase from today’s 13% in 3 years. We at Craft strongly support this goal and will continue to track the industry’s progress towards it.

To learn more about the ongoing Diversity VC initiative visit Diversity.VC.

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