IT’S NO SECRET that the venture capital industry, for as long as it’s existed, has been overwhelmingly white. Last summer, as the murder of George Floyd focused national attention on racial inequalities in the US, firms seemed committed to changing that. “Black Lives Matter,” the firm Benchmark tweeted last May. “Change starts with each of us holding ourselves accountable and taking actions towards a better, more just world,” tweeted Sequoia. A few firms came out with concrete pledges, or funds earmarked for entrepreneurs of color: Andreesen Horowitz put up $2.2 million to start an accelerator program targeting founders who “lack the typical background and resources,” and Softbank set aside $100 million to invest in Black, Latino, and Native American founders. Mostly, though, promises were vague.
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