Tracy Prigmore, Castell Project
"How does the industry get the creativity and innovation if everybody is the same."
Quote from Tracy Prigmore of the Castell Project in an interview on PhocusWire this week.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
Tracy Prigmore's unease about the hospitality sector's poor efforts around diversity and inclusion in leadership positions is not exclusive to her.
Imagine you're a startup founder and a person of color - there is a high chance that you will not get funded, it's as simple as that.
Some evidence for this is found in a new report that details the top 25 Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms that are LEAST likely to invest in founders of color.
It's a shocking read.
Among the VCs listed are many that will be very familiar to startups in the travel sector, including Accel, Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
Accel, for example, has made 1,432 investments since 1983. Just two of those have gone to Black founders.
Battery has invested in one company with a Black founder (out of 689); Sequoia's record is not much better than Accel, with two investments from 1,341 heading to Black founders.
The statistics do not match the rhetoric that has inevitably been espoused over the years.
And while it's probably a little too soon to see if last year's Black Lives Matter movement and general uptick in awareness has made any difference, VCs should not be excused for the pitiful levels of investments made in the years before.
The best VCs always say that startups should ask as many questions of their potential backers as they receive themselves.
Perhaps a question at the top of a founder's list, when under the spotlight during a pitch, is what is the VC's history and strategy on investing in startups with Black founders.
The answer might be a good indication as to whether they are about to collaborate with a finance house with society's best interests at heart.
PhocusWire's regular editorials