As a woman leader of a majority-woman VC firm (sadly still quite a rarity) I thought International Women’s Day would be a great opportunity to share what we’re doing to continue to grow the diversity of our ecosystem and to highlight some of the great women across our team and portfolio.
When I set out to build Zero Carbon Capital I knew that I wanted to build a company that represented all of the stakeholders in the climate crisis, and that meant building a team that didn’t look like the rest of the VC industry. So when we first started hiring last year I was clear about our diversity goals and inclusive culture as part of our job specs, and I focussed on reaching people outside of our immediate networks. I also made sure we had time to build a diverse slate of candidates, across gender, race and background before interviewing a single person. That way, we knew we were seeing a representative group from the whole interested population.
I’m super proud that this process attracted a diverse group of ambitious, talented people and that it led to us hiring Chloe and Sarah to our team. They have been such valuable additions to our team and we hope that seeing more female faces in our team will make us more approachable to female founders who are still massively underrepresented in our ecosystem - last year 87% of VC funding to European tech start-ups went to all-male founding teams (Atomico).
Today, we're hiring again. This time for an Associate in Central Europe; and we are reaching out as much as possible to meet diverse candidates so that we can get closer to our goal of improving representation. Please help us by sharing! (job spec, on LinkedIn).
I know that building a diverse company is only part of the solution. We also need to invest in more diverse founders. Even though we put significant emphasis on this, I’m not yet fully happy with our progress. Yes, we’re regular participants in brilliant industry efforts to improve diversity like Climate Mosaic, Futureworld VC, FiveThirteen, Women in Cleantech, many online communities and specific Office Hours. Yes, we both seek out diverse founding teams, and explicitly value diversity in our investment decision-making. And, yes, we work closely with our portfolio teams to integrate diverse hiring practices and open, inclusive cultures into their companies. However, we’re still in a position where only 5 of our 20+ portfolio companies include a woman founder, and the metrics with regards to other forms of diversity are worse. There’s a lot more to do here and we are committed to doing it.
So as not to leave on a low note, I’d like to share some of the incredible women founders across all our portfolios. You are trail-blazers, who we are thrilled to support and I personally celebrate you every day:
L-R Réka Trón, COO at Multus Media (Fund 1); Liv Andersson, CEO at BioZeroc (Fund 1); TBC (Fund 2) Sarah Richardson, CEO at Microbyre (angel portfolio); Rozálie Ryčlová, COO at Thermulon (angel portfolio).