In the ten months that have passed since I wrote that I am pleased to say that we have seen a noticeable increase in board diversity in our portfolio. I have personally stepped off a few boards to make room for diverse board members and I am prepared to do more of that. A number of my partners have done the same. It is that important to me and USV.
But I can also tell you that the state of diversity in startup/growth company boards and our portfolio is still awful.
Our portfolio company Bolster connects fractional executives and board candidates to startup and growth companies. They have done some of the board searches for diverse candidates in our portfolio and they are going to do a lot more.
They have been surveying the startup and growth sector over the last few months to determine the state of diversity on boards. They published the results today. The numbers are embarrassing.
We can do better and we must do better.
Here is how:
1/ Make room on your board for independent directors at the very start and fill those seats with diverse candidates.
2/ Ask your investor directors to become observers to make room for independent diverse candidates.
3/ Prioritize this.
4/ Use Bolster or other service providers to surface great diverse board candidates.
There are so many qualified diverse candidates out there for you to bring onto your board. I have participated in many of the board searches in our portfolio in the last year and I am blown away by the diverse talent that is out there waiting to help you grow your company. You just need to make room for them and ask them to join your board.
Just do it.