The venture capital firm Lightspeed is trying to hold its portfolio companies accountable by asking them to sign a new diversity letter
The firm behind companies like HQ Trivia doesn’t have a perfect record on diversity issues. Does their new policy have enough teeth?
The recode article, "The venture capital firm Lightspeed is trying to hold its portfolio companies accountable by asking them to sign a new diversity letter," highlights how Russell Reynolds Associates is helping Silicon Valley with new diversity initiatives. The article is excerpted below.
There have been internal investigations, Medium mea culpas and Decency Pledges — all part of how Silicon Valley venture capital firms have reckoned with a year of invigorated conversation about sexual harassment and diversity.
Now, here’s a new attempt to fix the problem: The side letter.
Lightspeed Venture Partners is asking its portfolio company CEOs to sign a letter affirming their commitment to consider women and other underrepresented groups for senior jobs and new spots on their board of directors.
Max Levchin, the founder of the highly valued Affirm, which has been in Lightspeed’s portfolio for four years, said in an interview that it was a “no-brainer” to sign the sheet. Levchin said his company already had internal guidelines that asked for women and other underrepresented people to be considered for senior-level positions, so the Lightspeed instructions wouldn’t materially change how the company operates. He does like that leaders are being asked to commit, though.
Affirm is also planning to add up to four independent directors to its board later this year, Levchin said, and the recruiting firm that Affirm has hired to find candidates, Russell Reynolds, already had presented him with a majority-female list of candidates for him to choose from.
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