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It’s Time for Action: Introducing Diversity Spotlight

Update 8/11/20: Diversity Spotlight is now live on Crunchbase. You can begin searching for companies with diverse leadership, or contribute your own company data. Learn how to add data to Crunchbase.


After decades of underfunding and centuries of systemic discrimination, Black founders, Black CEOs, and Black-led venture firms are only beginning to get the attention they deserve. Venture capital partners like Ha Nguyen are inviting Black and Latinx CEOs to reach out to them directly. VCs like Bryce Roberts are asking their peers to commit to making more diverse investments. And, CEOs like Tiffani Ashley Bell are calling for VCs to “make the hire, send the wire.” 

One major challenge they all face is how to connect eager VCs and CEOs. Posts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs help raise the visibility of Black-led companies, but they are ephemeral and not scalable. The startup world needs a central place where the two sides can meet for fundraising, building relationships, or mentorship.

Crunchbase is uniquely positioned to be that meeting place. That’s why we’ve focused our resources on centralizing and highlighting data about companies with diverse leadership and the investors who fund them. Introducing: Diversity Spotlight. 

(Hey, Riana Lynn, thanks for the push.)

 

Diversity Spotlight data on Crunchbase

You can now view and search by diversity data in Crunchbase using our Diversity Spotlight features. Entrepreneurs are now able to highlight diversity on their own company profiles. Investors are now able to create visibility into the diversity of their portfolios. Users are now able to analyze trends and search Crunchbase using diversity as a filter. 

We’ve partnered with several VC firms and diversity advocates to collect diversity data, but we believe that we’ve only scratched the surface. We will need our user community to contribute their company’s diversity data to complete the picture.

We have three main goals for Diversity Spotlight:

  1. Discovery: Raise awareness for companies with diverse founders looking for funding; and, firms that invest in diversity
  2. Analysis: Show data that illustrates diversity funding trends
  3. Accountability: Offer transparency into investment firms’ diversity funding activities

Crunchbase diversity spotlight company profile overview

 

Inspiration behind Diversity Spotlight

We were inspired to build Diversity Spotlight while brainstorming ways Crunchbase could do more as a company to build equity, diversity, and inclusion in the startup world. We recognize that we have a lot of work to do inside of Crunchbase, but we also realize we have an opportunity to use our platform to support diverse companies.

To start, we are focusing on adding race/ethnicity data for leadership teams at US-based companies and investment firms. But, we believe that Diversity Spotlight can evolve to include additional diversity types like gender identification, sexual orientation, and ability status. By highlighting diversity data, we hope to make it easier than ever to find startups that need investments and find investors with a track record of investing in diverse companies, and begin to close the funding gap.

 

Sources of diversity data

Diversity Spotlight is now live with an initial set of ethnicity/race data contributed to us by Crunchbase Venture Program Partners, journalists, the Crunchbase data management team, and VCs who have already demonstrated their commitment to diversity. 

This is just the beginning. We hope to see additional contributions from Crunchbase users over time, so that this data is always up-to-date. 

We are especially grateful to the following individuals and brands who shared with us their own diversity lists and proprietary data. We are proud to support their missions with Diversity Spotlight:

 

Types of diversity data

While we are starting with US-based race/ethnicity data, we believe we can expand applications of Diversity Spotlight to support additional diverse groups and global regions. 

We have a few first principles that guide us while thinking through those future opportunities:

  • Diversity Spotlight data should raise awareness for groups that are historically underfunded, overlooked, and underrepresented (e.g. there is no ‘White’ tag). 
  • Diversity Spotlight data should come from trusted sources. To start this means that only the person themselves, or employees of their company or investment firms, or trained Crunchbase data management personnel will be able to contribute the data.
  • Diversity Spotlight data should reflect the unique nuances of different global regions. We are running the first beta test with US companies, and will expand as we hear feedback from our community.

If you have suggestions for additional tags to include in future iterations, please email us directly at spotlight@crunchbase.com.

 

Making the most of Diversity Spotlight

Discover diverse founders and firms that invest in diversity

Founders and CEOs from underrepresented backgrounds who want to raise visibility for their companies are now able to add their data to Crunchbase for free and indicate which Diversity Spotlight tags are relevant. To boost visibility further, we are modifying our recommendation algorithms to include diversity data as an input. We believe this is just one way we can lift up these often overlooked companies.

Crunchbase diversity spotlight advanced search screenshot

Analyze diversity funding trends

Recent reports (like this, this, and this) call out the gross underinvestment of venture capital in diverse communities. However, these reports are typically infrequently updated, or one-off, and can become stale over time. Diversity Spotlight will be a resource that is updated on an ongoing basis and populated with trusted first-party data from our community contributors and partner network. Journalists and analysts will be able to slice and dice the diversity data by industry, geography, and funding stage, just to name a few. 

Crunchbase diverse investments profile overview screenshot

Create transparency and accountability 

Crunchbase is a trusted resource for VCs and startup founders. Millions of visitors come to our site every month to conduct market research, find investors, prospect for leads, and identify target investments. Now, we’re using that brand strength and popularity to surface a new insight: follow through.

Any one of our visitors are now able to freely assess a VC-firm’s commitment to diversity by looking at their investor profile page on Crunchbase. And the data will go beyond the borders of our own web domain. Crunchbase’s powerful SEO and syndication partnerships with major news sites and social networks extends the reach of our data to the far corners of the Internet. This lifts the veil of secrecy and creates a channel for accountability.

 

Take action 

Ultimately, we hope that including diversity data in Crunchbase will empower investors and startup leaders to drive change. We’ve outlined a few steps to help you get started.

For startup leaders:

    • Contribute: If you’re a founder looking to get discovered, make sure that your company is in Crunchbase, and your Diversity Spotlight tags are up-to-date.  
    • Prospect: Use Crunchbase search to identify investors who make investments in diverse companies.
    • Share feedback: Let us know if you see ways for us to improve this feature in the future by emailing spotlight@crunchbase.com. 

For investors:

    • Contribute: Ensure that your diversity data in Crunchbase is correct. This includes the representation of your portfolio members as well as your own firm’s diversity at the partner level.
    • Prospect: Use Crunchbase search to identify startups with diverse associations.
    • Commit: Write the check, make the hire.

Building Diversity Spotlight has been a sprint to the finish line and we recognize there will be room for improvement. We ask for your understanding as we continue to evolve the feature, and take action in support of our mission to democratize access to opportunity

If you have feedback, please let us know by sending an email to spotlight@crunchbase.com