Melinda Gates: ‘The VC industry funnels money to white men’

The venture capital industry has an outsized influence over deciding the leaders of tomorrow. But while 82 per cent of venture capitalists are male and 70 per cent are white, innovation is stalling before its started.

A decade ago, a polling firm asked British workers to cast their vote for the most annoying example of business jargon. “Thinking outside the box” topped the list, narrowly edging out “touch base”. In periodic surveys since then, “outside the box” has repeated its dismal performance.

If you are tired of that phrase too, then perhaps you’ll be relieved to hear that I don’t plan to use it here. My manifesto to make the world think more innovatively has nothing to do with where that thinking is being done and everything to do with who is doing the thinking.

It starts with venture capital, an industry with an outsized influence over who will be the leaders of tomorrow and who will be left behind. If you have a smart idea that you want to turn into a successful business, it helps to have venture-capital funding. However, if you want to obtain that funding, the data suggests it helps to be a man.

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