Startup DEI Pledge
Diverse teams and boards outperform their more homogenous counterparts. In terms of closing the funding gap, diversifying startup teams will also improve representation in cap table participation. As more diverse operators participate in lucrative liquidity events, it will increase the pool of diverse startup investors.
Implementation of the Startup DEI Pledge is part of our four-step methodology and framework designed to optimize startup culture for diversity, equity, and inclusion while closing the tech funding gap.
About the Methodology
Modeled after the Mekong Club Business Pledge Against Modern Slavery, a psychologist-designed methodology enlisting the private sector in supporting government efforts to eradicate modern-day slavery tied to labor exploitation, the Startup DEI Pledge has four steps adaptable to any organization:
Step 1: Assessment
Complete the onboarding assessment.
Step 2: Implement
Companies plan, schedule, and implement activities that fall within the framework.
Step 3: Track
Companies schedule a quarterly internal review of efforts in each category.
Step 4: Measure
Companies re-assess annually to measure progress and benchmark.
Improve performance, ROI, and cap table equity by optimizing startup culture for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
About the Framework
The Startup DEI pledge includes a framework that encourages companies to remain engaged by providing practical guidelines, external accountability, positive encouragement, and support.
The four parts of the framework are:
Assimilation - The process of taking in and fully understanding the Tech Funding Equity approach to optimizing your unique culture - not by "blending in," or conforming, but by innovating and recalibrating for excellence.
Engagement - Engagement builds upon companies’ efforts to collect and assimilate information to support performance goals. The engagement category has two subcategories:
Execution - With policies and governance aligned, the next step is execution. This involves recruitment, internally and externally; creating, allocating, and disseminating resources; building capacity; and monitoring progress. Subcategories supporting execution are:
Entrenchment - As companies execute on the actions to which they have committed, they may experience newfound or heightened “diversity fatigue,” particularly as biases and cognitive dissonance are explored, examined, and dismantled. This can easily lead to “progress and retrenchment,” a dynamic indicative of structural racism that, according to The Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change, “works to maintain a steady state of white privilege wherever there is progress toward racial equity.” Companies should anticipate and proactively plan to mitigate this falling back by focusing on entrenching processes that ensure that outcomes are established. This framework includes two subcategories to achieve tech funding equity entrenchment:
Compensation and Elevation
Within each subcategory, companies can pull from suggested actions (or not), create their own actions, and optionally contribute to the list of suggestions. Not all companies need to adopt the same actions, but they should commit to undergoing internal analysis, determining actions, and remaining accountable to implement and track those actions.