Firm and workforce demographics in the venture capital (VC) industry
Venture Forward, NVCA’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting organization, conducts on-going research on diversity, equity and inclusion in the venture ecosystem through the VC Human Capital Survey.
The VC Human Capital Survey—powered by NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte—aims to capture critical data on the workforce at venture capital (VC) firms, develop a baseline understanding of demographics within the VC industry, and uncover the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) across the industry. The survey is intended to be an educational resource for VC firms to understand how to expand the diversity of their teams and portfolio.
The survey collects firm demographic information and demographic information for each employee at VC firms. Additionally, the survey collects information regarding firm talent management practices and DE&I programs.
NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte will be surveying active U.S.-based VC firms for the third edition of the Survey in August and September 2020.
As an industry, we can only improve what we track, measure, and report.
Launched in 2016 by NVCA and Deloitte, the VC Human Capital Surveywas designed to capture critical data on the workforce at US venture capital (VC) firms, develop a baseline understanding of demographics within the VC industry, and uncover the current state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) across the industry. The Survey is intended to be an educational resource for venture capital firms to understand how to expand the diversity of their teams and portfolio.
The second edition of the Survey, released in 2019, continued the assessment of the state of talent management, with a special focus on DE&I, in the US VC industry. Results from the second edition were benchmarked against baseline findings from the first (2016) edition. As in 2016, the survey conducted in 2018 requested firm demographic information (e.g., investment stage focus) and demographic information for each employee (e.g., gender and race). Additionally, the Survey asked firms to provide information regarding firm talent management practices and diversity and inclusion programs.
The third edition of the survey—powered by NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte—will be out in the field in August and September 2020 for active US VC firms to complete. Results will be released, in an anonymized and aggregated format, in late 2020.
Although there have been other assessments of DE&I in the VC industry, this survey provides a unique perspective. Unlike other research efforts in this area, it gathers data from VC firms of all types, sizes, and geographies; examines diversity for a variety of groups across all levels and types of positions at VC firms; and assesses firm talent management strategies.
The VC Human Capital Survey is a critical component to advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry. Our goal is to have every active US VC firm participate, regardless of size, focus, location, or current demographics.
What data does the Survey collect?
The VC Human Capital Survey questionnaire was developed with input from a diverse range of VC industry leaders (including partners, CFOs, and HR/talent managers) and inclusion subject matter specialists at Deloitte. The questions have largely remained the same for the 2016, 2018, and 2020 Surveys. However, as the industry has evolved, afew new questions have been added to the 2020 questionnaire.
The Survey questionnaire consists of three sections:
1. General firm profile information (e.g., number of employees, investment focus, AUM, and location).
Note: Individual firm names will not be publicly disclosed. Firm profile details will only be reported in an anonymized and aggregated format.
2. Firm workforce details (e.g., provide demographic data and the details on responsibilities for each member of the VC firm’s team).
Note: Employee names are not collected on the survey. Information and data provided regarding individual persons will appear only in an aggregate form that will not permit such individuals to be identified.
3. Firm talent management practices (e.g., how the firm recruits talent, who is responsible for human resources at the firm, how the firm promotes employees, whether the firm has a human capital strategy, etc.)
Note: Firm information and data provided will appear only in an aggregatedand anonymized form.
How is a firm’s reported data used?
NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte understand the sensitive nature of the data and information collected in the VC Human Capital Survey. Each firm’s underlying data and information is strictly confidential. Data and information on firms and individuals will only be used in an anonymized and aggregated form, without any identifying details. NVCA and Venture Forward do not have access to identifiable underlying data and information, which is solely managed by Deloitte.
The goal of the Survey is to have everyactive US VC firm participate, regardless of size, focus, geography, or current demographics.
As in 2016 and 2018, NVCA, Venture Forward, and Deloitte have identified the universe of active US VC firms to survey in 2020, with the help of PitchBook data. We are surveying US-based VC firms who meet any of these criteria:
Raised a VC fund between 2012 and 2019
Made 1+ investment in a US-based company in 2019
Identified as a growth equity firm in the NVCA 2020 Yearbook
Identified as a corporate venture group that made 10+ investments in US-based companies between 2015 and 2019
Considered an NVCA member firm as of May 2020
Each VC firm will have one representative, such as their CFO, general counsel, or HR manager, complete the Survey on behalf of the firm, providing information on its employees. Employees are not contacted to participate individually. The VC firm representative also provides information on the firm’s talent management, recruitment, and HR practices.
217 VC firms representing 2,500+ employees participated in 2016, and 203 VC firms representing 2,700+ employees participated in 2018. In both Surveys, the sample was broadly representative of the VC industry at the time.
For the 2020 Survey, several VC firms have publicly committed to participating by signing the NVCA and Venture Forward #VCHumanCapital Pledge. View the list here.
Why should my firm participate in the 2020 VC Human Capital Survey?
Each VC firm has a greater chance at improving what it tracks and measures. The same applies across our industry which is why it’s incredibly important that we collectively track and measure progress. The VC Human Capital Survey also offers a way for us to collect and report the DE&I data—in an anonymized way—to hold the industry accountable, learn where we still need toimprove, and offer a way to benchmark against peers.
If your VC firm truly believes in advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry, we ask that you make submitting your details via the VC Human Capital Survey part of your D&I strategy.
How can my firm participate?
The Survey response period is open from August 18 – September 18. Surveys may be completed using either a web-based survey link or survey workbook (recommended for firms with 10+ employees).
If your firm meets the criteria noted above, you should have received the details to participate in the 2020 VC Human Capital Survey. If you did not, please contact email@example.com.
Previous Versions of the VC Human Capital Survey
Second Edition: Results from the 2018 Survey
The second edition of the VC Human Capital Survey, conducted in 2018, is the most recent installment of an ongoing survey series that assesses the state of talent management, with a special focus on DE&I, in the US VC industry. Results from the second edition were benchmarked against baseline findings from the first edition, which was originally conducted in 2016.
In the first edition of the VC Human Capital Survey conducted in 2016, NVCA and Deloitte set out to create a benchmark for diversity in the VC industry. This written report was developed to dive deeper into the numbers and draw out key insights on steps that can be taken to create a more inclusive industry.