D&I Series Pt 1: Building an inclusive ecosystem
In this article, we launch Part 1 of our D&I Series. We believe that in order to inspire and develop ALL the builders of tomorrow, we must actively include diverse minds in shaping the world we want to live in.
As of 2019, women comprised 30% of venture capital personnel, 83% of firms had no women on their investment committees, and only 24% of the venture workforce was non-white. Within start-ups, fewer than 1% of Europe’s tech founders identified as Black/African/Caribbean, and only 43% of companies have at least one female C-suite executive. It’s no secret that there’s a diversity problem in venture capital and start-ups. Yet data shows us that diverse teams consistently out-perform their homogeneous counterparts, presenting better financial results and stronger innovations. So why is the issue so prevalent — and what can we do about it as investors and innovators?
At LEGO Ventures, we believe that Inclusion Sparks Innovation. To create a better future for the next generation, we need to establish an environment where diverse minds are actively included in building the future of learning through play. Throughout 2020 and into 2021, our team has been on a journey to understand how we can be more diverse and inclusive – within our team, our portfolio, and the broader ecosystem. We set up internal working groups to gauge our own team’s sentiment and start an open dialogue. We partnered with external leaders in the space to learn best practices. We performed a thorough audit of our own operations to identify our blind spots. With input from our team, partners, and friends across the LEGO Ecosystem, we developed a positioning statement to reflect our stance and ensure we’re kept accountable. We’ll continue to share our learnings and reflections over the coming months, and look forward to participating in this important discussion for our industry and beyond.
Our position on Diversity & Inclusion
At LEGO Ventures, we believe that through creativity, learning, and play, we can create a better future. In order to inspire and develop ALL the builders of tomorrow, we must actively include diverse minds in shaping the world we want to live in. We pledge to champion this belief through our actions – both through our internal practices, and through our position within the venture capital ecosystem.
More specifically, we do this through committing to support diversity and inclusion in our team, our portfolio, and our sector:
- Our Team
We commit to routinely reviewing our operations to safeguard equitable recruitment practices, psychological safety, and accessible HR resources. As the LEGO Ventures team and within the LEGO Brand Group family, we pledge this to each other.
- Our Portfolio
We commit to supporting our portfolio companies on their D&I journey, by creating an environment where we can challenge each other and grow together as part of the LEGO Ventures family.
- The Venture Capital Ecosystem
We commit to moving the needle on creating a more inclusive start-up ecosystem by learning from our friends and partners, challenging the status quo, and supporting our peers through open dialogue.
At LEGO Ventures, we believe that successfully exploring new systems in play requires diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We will actively review our own biases and processes to create as diverse and inclusive an environment as we can. We will do this by:
- Checking our mindset
Recognising and challenging implicit beliefs and behaviour to ensure we always think inclusively and not perpetuate harmful stereotypes and miss opportunities to do what is right and do better.
- Changing course as required
Reviewing our organisation-wide and individual systems, procedures, and practices to ensure they do not lead to exclusion and, if they do, be brave enough to make changes to encourage inclusion – both within our own organisation and with regards to all members of our network.
- Creating opportunity
Taking action to enable our funding process to be as unbiased as possible, providing equal opportunity to support promising entrepreneurs.
- Establishing accountability
Developing standards and accountability systems for our organisation and our portfolio companies to ensure continuous action and track our progress.
We recognize that the journey towards diversity and inclusion will require a strong and continuous commitment beyond this pledge. However, with these measures, we wish to lay the foundation for an ever-evolving process where we try, learn, and ultimately contribute to a fairer and more accessible venture capital industry.