The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has announced that it will invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color and other underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs.
CTA’s multi-million dollar fund targets the disproportionate amount of venture capital that women and minority-led companies receive. In 2017, women received nearly 2.2 percent of the available venture capital funding which totaled $85 billion.
“To continue to evolve and grow, the tech industry needs more equal access to venture funding,” said CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro in a press release. “Various research reports indicate diverse teams make better decisions and achieve greater profits. At CTA, this is one more tool we are deploying to help promote diversity in the technology industry.”
CTA has previously been criticized for having gender-bias and a lack of diversity at its events.
Lora DiCarlo, a women-focused company, was supposed to receive an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but the CTA, stripped the company of its award after determining the company’s Osé robot did not fit into any of the award’s product categories.
Although it is unclear whether or not the fund is in response to the controversy, Lora DiCarlo Founder and CEO, Lora Haddock, called out the event for allowing robot sex dolls and virtual reality porn showcases on the floor of the show. However, Lora DiCarlo is still prohibited from presenting on the floor of CES this year.
“CES and the CTA have a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards – much like the tech industry as a whole,” Haddock said in a post. “From the exclusion of female founders and executives to the lack of female-focused products allowed to exhibit on the floor – there are demonstrable issues with diversity.”
AfroTech has reached out to CTA for comment.