Venture Forward turns one today! After several years in the making, we publicly launched on June 16, 2020 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supporting organization to NVCA, to meet the growing needs of the VC industry related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), education, research, and history preservation.
In a year filled with extraordinary change and focusing events, from the quick adoption and adaption to a new normal of remote work, to a dramatic presidential election, a national rollout of a COVID vaccination and more, some would say the most significant cultural shift was the sharpened national focus on social justice and racial equity.
The VC community has met the rising challenges and opportunities presented by a global pandemic, playing a pivotal role in the country’s economic recovery, and galvanizing an internal industry-facing focus on DEI – and throughout our inaugural year, Venture Forward has been there on the frontline of these efforts to create a stronger, more diverse, equitable, and ultimately, a more just VC ecosystem.
Since our launch a year ago, Venture Forward has led several programs and initiatives to further our mission of driving the human capital, culture, values, and narrative of VC to promote a strong and inclusive community that will fuel the economy of tomorrow.
Here are five highlights from the past year:
- Educated nearly 1,030 VC industry newcomers through four sold out VC University ONLINE cohorts and 2 VC University LIVE programs.
- Provided about 200 full scholarships to new and early-career VC investors from underrepresented backgrounds (meet our latest ONLINE and LIVE scholarship awardees).
- Facilitated 100 1:1 meetings for emerging managers from diverse backgrounds with LPs and experienced GPs to learn fundraising best practices and how to navigate the GP-LP relationship at LP Office Hours.
- Led an educational series for 33 VC investors from underrepresented backgrounds on communications best practices, how to build their brand, and engage with the media.
- Collected, analyzed, and released workforce demographics and talent management statistics from 375+ VC firms in the third edition of the VC Human Capital Survey to track and measure industry progress, and hosted a workshop with 80+ industry leaders to continue the discussion on how to accelerate DEI progress.
Venture Forward’s work would not be possible without the leadership and financial support of our founding donors: Silicon Valley Bank, Deloitte, and Gunderson Dettmer, and 80+ individuals and VC firms. We also thank our board, including two recently appointed directors—Elliott Robinson of Bessemer Venture Partners and Nicole Walker of Arboretum Ventures—who started their four-year term this month.
- Support our efforts through a tax-deductible donation to sponsor our work, programs, and scholarships.
- Access educational programs to help build your VC career.
- Volunteer your time to support industry newcomers by serving as speaker for VC University, mentoring underrepresented VCs through our Mentorship Program, hosting office hours, etc.
- Partner with us to develop new initiatives that shape the future of VC.
- Share the word of our scholarships and programmatic opportunities with your networks.
- Engage with the Venture Forward community – share your job postings, events, resources, and thought leadership in our monthly newsletter or on our website.
Our small (but mighty!) team looks forward to another impactful year of shaping the future of VC. We hope you will engage with us as either a participant, volunteer, or donor. Onward and forward!