Kapor Capital Announces New Founders’ Commitment To Support Diversity and Inclusion in Tech

Eric Wingerter

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marquesa Finch, Communications Strategist

marquesa@kaporcenter.org

Kapor Capital Announces New Founders’ Commitment To Support Diversity and Inclusion in Tech  

Starting Today, Commitment will be a Standard Term in Kapor Capital Investment Agreements

(Oakland, CA. January 21, 2016)– Kapor Capital launched its Founders’ Commitment today, a four-part road map for startups to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in their early stages of growth.  

Starting today, the Commitment will be a standard term in all new investment agreements, and existing companies in the Kapor Capital portfolio will have the opportunity to opt in.  At the time of launch, 56 current Kapor Capital portfolio companies had made the Commitment (see a full listing here)

As part of the Commitment, companies pledge to:

  1.   Establish diversity and inclusion goals that are appropriate for the company’s funding stage, employee size, customer base, and core business. Include progress on diversity and inclusion in quarterly investor updates.  
  1.   Invest in tools, training programs, and/or resources that assist with mitigating bias in recruiting, hiring, and employment.
  1.   Organize volunteer opportunities for employees to engage with underrepresented communities, especially those that reflect the company’s customer base.
  1.   Participate in diversity and inclusion sessions to learn about what works and what doesn’t. These sessions will be hosted by Kapor Capital and will be made available for virtual participation as needed.

“We’ve seen how difficult it is for the big tech companies to try to retrofit diversity and inclusion.” said Freada Kapor Klein, Partner at Kapor Capital. “Baking diversity and inclusion into a company’s culture early can provide the foundation to build a much more representative workforce in later stages of growth. We look forward to the day when one of these diverse startups takes off to become the next tech giant.”

Development of the Founders’ Commitment began last summer by Kapor Capital’s own companies. Its language was finalized by a group of the firm’s CEOs who believe it is important to incorporate diversity and inclusion principles in the company culture from the very beginning. Eager to leverage Kapor Capital’s unique expertise in this area, the CEOs focused the Commitment on actions that the firm could help them make progress on.

“We hope that the Founders’ Commitment will inspire many similar initiatives in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the tech ecosystem” said Mitch Kapor, Founder and Partner at Kapor Capital. “When we embrace the disruptive, innovative potential tech has for all communities, and when we hold ourselves accountable to that potential, great things can happen.”

“We’ve seen overwhelming interest from our current portfolio companies in improving diversity and inclusion.”, ” said Mandela Schumacher-Hodge, Portfolio Services Director at Kapor Capital. “With the Founders’ Commitment, we are providing structure and resources for our companies to be successful in making their workforce more reflective of America”

Additional Quotes from Portfolio Companies on the Founders’ Commitment:

“Bitly values the importance of diversity and inclusion within our company,” said Susan Riskin, VP of Human Resources at Bitly. “ We believe that our talent is a strategic asset to the company.  By building a diverse workforce, we are not only doing the right thing, but we’re doing the right thing for our business. We truly believe that Kapor Capital Founders Commitment will raise awareness across the tech industry and will provide a path for underrepresented entrepreneurs to succeed and create technologies that are useful to all populations.”

“As a company we’ve always felt strongly about the importance of having a team that reflected our users’ demographics. Not only because it is fair but also because it is smart business,” said Ana Roca Castro, founder CEO of PreK12Plaza. “These diversity and inclusion goals will help us stay focused on tangible and measurable outcomes.  I hope we inspire other tech companies to make this commitment.  Together we can level the playing field so everyone can be equally included in today’s innovation economy.”

“The Founders’ Commitment is about taking action on diversity and inclusion, not just talking about it.” said Porter Braswell, CEO of Jopwell. “We are proud to be making this pledge. It’s something that we believe in as a company, and I think it is going to be the beginning of a wider movement throughout tech.”

“Signing the commitment is the right thing to do and reflects who we are as an organization,” said Lynzi Ziegenhagen, Founder and CEO of Schoolzilla. “We like to think of ourselves as an education company first, and technology company second. As such, we understand the value of having a growth mindset, of continuous learning. We apply that mindset to everything, and diversity is no exception. We commit to reflecting on our practices, inspecting our conscious and unconscious beliefs, and holding ourselves accountable to do better.”

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Based in Oakland, California, Kapor Capital invests in seed stage tech startups that generate both economic returns and positive social impact. We believe that diversity is a strategic priority for the tech industry.