Investors must embrace diversity now and invest in diverse founders

Investors must embrace diversity now and invest in diverse founders

Vegard Medbø and Fridtjof Berge, co-founders of Antler, explain why investors must embrace diversity now and look to emerging markets.

Venture capitalists (VCs) play a vital role in shaping the future. Although the VC industry is a very small part of our economy, the symbiosis of ambitious founders and the VCs backing them is building companies that will define the future. Just look at the five largest companies in the US — Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — all were VC-backed and all have had a massive impact on our society. Now, investors must focus on diversity.

Increasingly, the new generation of businesses are motivated to make a positive change in the world and it is investors’ duty to empower their ability to do so. Positive change comes in many forms: pushing technology to new limits, creating amazing user experiences, but also by building cultures that enable productivity, inclusion and creating equal opportunities for everyone. There is a large need to grow more inclusive business cultures as this will generate a more varied and innovative standard of business in the future. As it stands, the executive teams in most companies are still composed mostly of white males from wealthy families.

In this article, we’re going to give an overview of how investors can better support tech startups at the early idea stage and what benefit this will bring to the investment landscape and economy more widely. One of our views — a focus in this piece — is that there is an urgent need for more diversity and open mindedness in the investment community, amongst both founders and investors. The landscape must become more accessible to a wider pool of innovators to increase the number of great ideas in the world.

We will start by looking at the state of the startup investment landscape as it is today and explain how and why we need to shake it up, primarily by recognising that diversity of all kinds is key in generating ground-breaking ideas, before touching on the importance and benefits of investing in emerging markets.

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