25 progressive Dutch venture capital investors (VCs) and TechLeap.NL (formerly StartupDelta) are entering into a joint initiative under the name #FundRight that will lead to a more diverse startup ecosystem. InnovationQuarter is also one of the founding members and participating VCs. As a first step, they are addressing equal funding opportunities for female founders by signing the diversity statement. They also call on other VCs to endorse this declaration.
‘We, the participating Dutch venture capital investors, believe in equal access to finance and opportunities for all founders, regardless of their background or gender’, the VCs write. They also recognize that there is no such equality at present. A significant fact is that in 2017 only 1,6% of venture capital in the Netherlands was invested in female founders and only 6,8% in mixed teams. This is despite the fact that research shows that diverse teams have a positive influence on performance.
Actions rather than words
By endorsing the statement, the VCs not only take a stand on #FundRight, but also take responsibility by committing themselves to the following actions:
- Within 3 years of this statement, we as participating VCs ourselves and the management teams of our current and future portfolio companies will have a 35% female workforce.
- A significant percentage of the companies in which we (co)invest are (co)founded by a woman.
- We will publish an annual report, produced by TechLeap.NL, containing the most important statistics on the gender diversity of Dutch venture capital investors and their portfolio companies.
- We actively disseminate our statement, share our experiences and approaches with each other, with the ultimate goal of having 100% of all Dutch venture capital investors subscribed by 2022.
#FundRight came about in part after a survey of private investment funds that was published last autumn. It turns out that these funds spend most of their money on male-run startups.
Alexander Ribbink, General Partner Keen Venture Partners: “FundRight is an industry initiative to address the diversity problem and develop stronger VCs and startups. Mixed teams outperform mono-teams and VCs and startups that embrace diversity make themselves more versatile, resilient and stronger. With FundRight, we want to create awareness and change in the venture capital industry, contributing to a stronger startup ecosystem.”
Constantijn van Oranje, Special Envoy TechLeap.NL.
“FundRight is an important initiative. More VCs need to take responsibility for investing more in women-led companies and diverse teams. The current situation is not only a waste of talent, but such a monoculture can also threaten the success of companies.”
Rina Joosten, co-founder of Seedlink Tech: “Working on groundbreaking technology on a daily basis is the best there is. Different backgrounds are crucial to us – only then can you look at a problem in different ways. For us, diversity is a no-brainer. Not because it’s the way it should be, but because otherwise, we won’t be able to achieve the best results. The fact that VCs with a more diverse view of startups and their own teams are now also looking at them not only makes for stronger VCs and startups but also strengthens the entire ecosystem.”
Eline Leijten, co-founder of Plugify: “The launch of #Fundright is a milestone to celebrate. I’m thrilled to see how many women and men are fully committed to the economic – and moral need for more diversity and inclusion in our homogenous startup ecosystem. The initiators of Fundright make a major contribution to this.”
For more information about the initiative, the statement, the affiliated VC’s and involved female founders, visit: www.fundright.nl
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