Chicago venture capital firms are collaborating to launch a new initiative aimed at examing and addressing the diversity gap across the tech industry in the city.
“A few months ago a group of Chicago VCs and I started talking about ways to help our firms and the companies we invest in build diverse teams and inclusive environments,” wrote Lindsay Knight, director of platforms at Chicago Ventures in a blog post. “A lot of us are making some progress individually, but we know the power of this venture community is greater than any one firm or individual on its own.”
Chicago Blend launched last week rolling out a couple of data collection projects looking at the demographic makeup of venture capital firms to better understand the ecosystem. The results reflect the diversity figures across the industry, lacking racial and gender diversity at all levels.
The initiative surveyed 348 employees at 70 Chicago based-firms and found roughly 86 percent of the Chicago venture capital community identifies as white. Of that group, 91 percent are executives. The data also showed that 75 percent of Chicago VCs are men.
The group plans to release diversity data on venture-backed startups to better understand the ecosystem by the end of 2018 and create two to three initiatives based on the data collected. They also act as a resource library for all information related to tech diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“We care deeply about this work and about Chicago’s tech ecosystem,” said Knight in the post.” While we don’t have all of the answers, we hope we can help lead the effort for our community to work together to affect positive change.”