Introducing Planet A’s Diversity & Inclusion Policy: Diversity is not compliance, but business-critical. A huge share of talented people are still excluded from venture capital, and our planet just can’t afford that.
Venture capital has the potential to change our economy. It is one of the most powerful levers to drive innovation and the reason Planet A exists. To us, venture capital is a tool to scale technologies that have a positive impact on our planet faster, in order to build an economy that operates within the planetary boundaries. Venture capital shapes our economy like few other forms of capital. While only 0,5% of companies started since 1995 in the US have been funded with venture capital, they make up nearly 76% of total public-market cap companies. However, with great power comes great responsibility.
More diversity is good for the planet
The 2022 Female Founders Monitor found that 5% of Europen VC deals go to female founded startups and 18% to mixed teams, while according to the James L. Knight Foundation male partners still control 93% of the venture capital dollars. The biggest problem with this imbalance is that we are excluding diverse perspectives, talent and ideas for the most pressing issues we face as societies. The industry has one of the most homogenous workforces in the world, creating structural bias in investment decisions.
We are excluding diverse perspectives, talent and ideas for the most pressing issues we face as societies.
Diversity is not just about gender, LGBTQI+ and race, it is about the diversity of backgrounds and mindsets. As a VC we try to understand today what tomorrow will look like. Bringing in diverse perspectives is one of the most potent ways to do this.
So, how do we do this at Planet A? The first step is to share our approach and how we want to go about it. Earlier this year we launched Planet A`s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Policy, here are some key points:
🔎 Finding the best requires effort. To operationalize and source diverse deal flow we use diversity tracking metrics in our CRM tools. In reviewing companies for investment, the diversity of the founding teams is one of our assessment criteria.
👩🏿 🤝 👩🏼 Any portfolio company, where we are the lead investor, is required to have their own diversity policy in place within 12 months of our investment or before their next round of financing.
🧠 We actively support our portfolio companies to be leaders in building diverse teams and inclusive cultures. Through our Planet A network founders have access to like-minded supporters and advisors, like Heidrun Twesten, Founder & MD of Impacct, Co-Author of ‚Das Gründerinnen-Handbuch‘ (‚Handbook for female founders‘/Springer Gabler) and host of the EQUALIZER podcast.
💬 Sharing knowledge and expertise with underrepresented founders is key to increasing the number of successful diverse founders and enabling their access to capital. This is why we for instance take part in the Female Founder Office Hours, an initiative to help connect the dots between diverse founders and investors.
It always starts with us
Building a diverse team that values the importance of diversity makes us a better investor, employer, and partner for our founders. Thus, we seek to identify and select a diverse set of people affiliated with our fund while providing a fair and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities for all people.
🤝 We partner with initiatives like Future.VC, Supernovas and WomenInVC, to source diverse candidates for our internship programs and full-time roles. Similarly, our Co-founding Partner and Head of Impact Lena Thiede is part of encourage ventures, which empowers women to become investors themselves. We have actively aimed at finding female investors for the fund.
5️⃣0️⃣ We commit to 50% of candidates on our shortlists having a diverse background. Attributes such as different cultural background, languages, under-represented gender and the like are considered an additional strength in a candidate’s selection process.
💚 We treat employees, experts and advisors, investors, entrepreneurs, and people we interact with fairly and ethically, regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnicity, religion, culture, or sexual orientation. We expect the same from others, including, but not limited to, our investors, other investment firms, and of course, the entrepreneurs and businesses we invest in.
Transparency is key and we try to lead by example. While we have a female partner (which makes us 1 out of 10 European VC funds out there) and we are a team that is diverse in gender, age, background and experiences, we’re constantly challenging ourselves to do better. We expect this policy to grow and develop.
We’d like to end by highlighting that climate change will affect us all, but some more than others. As our colleague, Jessica Burley recently pointed out, the effects of climate change disproportionately affect women. While gender equality is just one category to consider, it is still largely overlooked in climate action and venture capital. To build an economy within our planetary boundaries, we need to adopt a more intersectional and inclusive approach.
Please shout out if you have further ideas and let’s change the industry for the better!
We continue to search for the best talent to join our team. If you’re interested in submitting an application, please contact us at email@example.com with a CV and covering letter. We’d love to hear from you.
Our full D&I policy can be found on our website. It was inspired by Creandum’s and Atomico’s policy and their work on diversity as well as Acrobator’s policy.