Silicon Valley's lack of diversity: Most VCs come from just two private universities

The majority of the Silicon Valley VC community is male and white and has changed very little, according to a new analysis.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

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About 600 (40 percent) of more than 1,500 of Silicon Valley's venture capitalists graduated from Harvard or Stanford -- the most prestigious and exclusive private universities in the US.

The data was compiled by Richard Kirby, one of Silicon Valley's black VCs.

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Silicon Valley's venture capital community is not only derived from the same privileged socio-economic class but is also literally from the same classrooms.

Kirby compiled similar data in 2016. He found the following changes from then: White VCs fell slightly to 70 percent from 74 percent of the total; Asian VCs rose slightly from 23 percent to 26 percent; the number of black VCs grew from 2 percent to 3 percent; and no change in Hispanics (1 percent). But women VCs showed a significant jump to 18 percent from 11 percent.

Kirby said, "While there has been an improvement after two years, we still have a long way to go in improving diversity within our industry."

About 50 percent of the black VCs also went to either Harvard or Stanford.

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He says that he was shocked to see how insular the industry is today.

"With 82 percent of the industry being male, nearly 60 percent of the industry being white male, and 40 percent of the industry coming from just two academic institutions, it is no wonder that this industry feels so insular and less of meritocracy but more of a mirrortocracy."

The lack of diversity in the VC community of Silicon Valley is reflected in the type of ventures that are funded -- very few minority-led or women-led startups receive investments.

This means that cultural bias is making VCs blind to potentially successful business ideas. VC firms that are able see beyond those artificial barriers could win big.

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