VC Resources

5 action steps to follow after joining #fundright

By joining the #Fundright movement you’ve shown your support and commitment to building an inclusive Dutch startup ecosystem. Of course, that’s just the first (and easiest) step of the journey. But the road to real change requires action and perseverance.

If we look back to the fight for women’s suffrage in the Netherlands, it was filled with ups and downs, from the time physician Aletta Jacobs attempted to register to vote in 1883 to the mass demonstrations that finally led to universal suffrage in 1919.

While we’ve gotten the right to vote, women still aren’t given equal opportunities in their professional lives, from access to top jobs to startup funding.

For things to change, we VCs need to take action.

The question is, how do we get started? We’ve created this guide with steps your firm can take after joining #fundright.


Step 1: Join #Fundright - check!

Step 2: Know the facts - Educate yourself and your team

One of the biggest barriers to creating actual change is moving from lip service to action.

While everyone on your team may agree that improving diversity is important, the discussion often gets sidelined when bottom line concerns like reaching quarterly targets and closing deals come into play.

The reason diversity and inclusion still isn’t treated as a top priority comes down to education. To truly embrace the #fundright mission, your team needs to understand why it’s not just a nice to have, but a bottom line priority.

To do this, you need to educate your team on the key facts, figures and studies. Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Resources

  1. The #Fundright movement was started after an eye opening 2018 report on Gender Diversity revealed the extent of the funding gap in the Netherlands. You can familiarize yourself with the key stats and findings by downloading the report here: http://bit.do/Gender-Diversity-Report
  2. Creating a more diverse and inclusive investment portfolio isn’t just the right thing to do, it also helps your bottom line. Here is a list of just a few studies showing the financial benefits of investing in female-led startups.
  3. Unconscious bias is something that naturally lives in all of us. The trick to overcoming it is by understanding how it works and acknowledging our own tendencies towards bias. Having this conversation with your team is essential. However, it can be a sensitive topic, so doing it in a safe, open environment is important. Check out our guide to overcoming unconscious bias for tips.
  4. Two male colleagues recently asked me, “How do I know if I’m mansplaining?” Both are experts who are often asked to explain concepts to colleagues outside their fields. Both were concerned about those explanations being taken the wrong way. I wondered: Is it really so hard to tell the difference between being condescending or simply explaining-while-male? Mansplaining, explained in one simple chart (BBC)
  5. Book: Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap - a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women's lives.

Step 3: Take a look on the inside

Did you know that only 6% of decision-makers at NL based venture capital firms are women? In fact, 87% have ZERO female investors. These figures come from a research report titled ‘Fixing the Funding Gap’ (2018) by #fundright members Janneke Niesen & Eva de Mol.

Read Report

As we discuss in our guide to overcoming unconscious bias, our natural tendency towards similarity bias makes homogenous teams less likely to invest in diverse startups. If you want to create a more diverse portfolio, start with building a more diverse team of VCs and, most importantly, a diverse team of key decision-makers.

There are a few tools that can help you attract more female hires and subtract bias from your recruitment pipeline.

Tech tools

Bias doesn’t just come out in the decisions we make, it’s also present in the language we use. Studies show that certain language can subconsciously attract certain candidates and dissuade others from applying. Luckily, there are a number of new tools which are helping companies to degender the language being used on their website and in their job posts. Here are a couple of them:

Textio

Gender Decoder

Once you get a more diverse talent pool, you need to ensure your hiring process isn’t preventing the right candidates from being hired.

Tools like Equalture use neuroscience based games to identify your team’s success predictors, skill gaps and cultural indicators and use this info to match you with the best suited candidates in your pipeline.

If you’re looking for experienced female candidates to join your board, check out the following databases which spotlight top talent.

The boardlist

Topvrouwen.nl

Step 4: Actively recruit female talent

One of the biggest problems we hear from VC firms is that they simply don’t get enough pitches from female led startups.

While reassessing the language you’re using and building a more diverse team can take you a long way forward, to start building a more diverse portfolio of companies you will need to actively begin recruiting female tech talent.

And there are a number of resources you can use to do this!

Techleap bidbook

In 2019, Techleap published a list with more than 200 gender diverse companies and this list is still growing. You can read about the 200 companies in this bidbook.

Bidbook List with 200 gender diverse companies (FundRight, published in 2019)

Partner up

Within #FundRight, we have VCs that focus specifically on female entrepreneurs and diverse teams. Partnering up with them can help connect your firm with some great talent.

VCs with a special focus on women: (plus link to their profile page)

Check out our interview with Rixt, the Director of the Next Women, for her tips on finding female tech talent here.

Read here

Get in touch

Step 5: Spread the word

Creating real change will only happen if we work together. Be an active promoter for #fundright, not just in your firm’s own activities, but also within your professional and social circles. Find out more about how you can take a more active role in #fundright by contacting us.

Thank you

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