Jessica Guynn Exclusive: Venture Capital To Make Diversity Pledge

Ellen Pao leaves the Civic Center Courthouse during a lunch break in her trial in San Francisco.

File – In this Feb. 24, 2015, file photo, Ellen Pao leaves the Civic Center Courthouse during a lunch break in her trial in San Francisco. Pao lost a high-profile gender bias lawsuit against an elite Silicon Valley venture capital firm. | Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press

Venture capitalists will pledge concrete measures to bring greater diversity to their predominantly white male profession during a high-profile event at the White House. For its part, the National Venture Capital Association is making a commitment “to advance opportunity for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the trade group says in a letter to President Obama that was exclusively shared with USA TODAY. The trade group’s task force, formed in December, to tackle the profession’s lack of diversity “is committed to developing both near and long-term solutions to effect positive change,” the letter reads.

It was signed by 45 venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Battery Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. Among the steps the National Venture Capital Association is promising to take: to conduct and share research that measures diversity at venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, develop model human resources policies to encourage more inclusive work environments and participate in programs to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers as entrepreneurs or venture capitalists. These are just initial steps to address the yawning racial and gender gap, said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Kate Mitchell.

Read the story at USA Today

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