Discrimination and sexual harassment are intolerable in any environment, and they are kryptonite for the diversity that unleashes the innovations that empower startups to change the world. I was appalled by the allegations in The Information about the repeated episodes of sexual harassment by a male venture capitalist toward female entrepreneurs, and I was encouraged by Reid Hoffman’s quick reaction. Having funded many women-led companies at Koa Labs, I know how uniquely difficult it can be for women entrepreneurs in tech. Being an entrepreneur is difficult enough, and being a female entrepreneur is harder still–way harder than it should be. We need to do everything possible to make sure our ecosystem reinforces the values that enable women entrepreneurs to be wildly successful.
I’m proud to announce my, Tamr’s, and Koa’s unequivocal support for the New England Venture Capital Association’s Statement on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. Diversity is a core value at Tamr, and we’re working hard to practice what we preach. I’ve written recently about the importance of diversity on my Koa blog here, and at Tamr we’ve have done several things to “walk the talk”, including regular independent third-party reviews of our compensation practices to identify and eliminate any potential gender bias. The results have been great, but we regularly find opportunities to improve. Continuous improvement. That’s what startups do.
I strongly encourage everyone in the New England start-up ecosystem (and beyond) to read NEVCA’s statement, to support their efforts, and to do everything in their power to make their companies inclusive and supportive of diversity on all dimensions. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world.