Diversity in Venture Capital: Doing Well and Doing Good
By Luke Antal, AVG Chief Marketing Officer & Venture Fellow Program Founder
VC has always been a difficult industry to break into. Only a few jobs are available, and they are sought after by our nation’s best and brightest. Unfortunately, the industry has a history of homogeny: a recent study by Richard Kerby, a partner at Equal Ventures, showed that white people account for 70% of the industry and men account for 82% of the industry.
It shouldn’t be this way, especially considering the mounting evidence supporting the thesis that investment performance benefits from more diversity at the decision table.
Here at AVG, we feel strongly that our industry and the broader entrepreneurship community will benefit from more diversity. That’s one of the reasons I started the Venture Fellow Program back in 2014. The program is a one-year, 100% remote, on-your-own-time experience that provides an on-ramp into the industry for young, promising, motivated individuals. Our Fellows receive real-life experience working with our fund operations and investment teams, and a custom 12-course-curriculum covering all things VC. Ultimately, they are provided with the skills, experience, and network necessary to transition into VC or significantly accelerate their career trajectory elsewhere.
Kimmy Paluch is a current Fellow working with Green D Ventures, our fund for Dartmouth alumni. She recently shared with me what the VFP has meant to her:
“The Fellow Program has given me the opportunity to gain experience in the VC space and has been a definite catapult for my latest transition to running a startup accelerator supporting founders in emerging tech hubs. The program gives unprecedented access to the most supportive managing partners, who are truly invested in seeing me be successful both within AVG and beyond. I’ve had the opportunity to interact across funds, support due diligence and deepen my connections to the Dartmouth community. It is truly a rare opportunity to enter the VC industry alongside a team that is committed to overcoming many of the diversity issues in the field.”
More than 125 Fellows have come through or are currently participating in the 12-month program. Importantly, 75% of our Fellows come from under-represented backgrounds (female or non-white). More than half of program graduates have transitioned to full-time work in the VC industry, either as investors or operators. We are doing our best to seed VC with a more representative work force.
Click here to learn more about the Fellow Program, and sign up to be notified when the Q1 2019 cohort application becomes available.