Matching Grant to the Techstars Foundation to Help Improve Diversity In Entreprenership

For the next 90 days, Amy and I are matching every gift to the Techstars Foundation on a 1:2 basis up to $100,000 from us. Our overall goal is to raise at least $300,000 for the Techstars Foundation by the end of the summer.

If Techstars has touched you in any positive way, I’d request that you consider making a grant to the Techstars Foundation. This request includes anyone who has gone through a Techstars accelerator, done a Startup Weekend, participated in a Startup Week, receives Startup Digest, or has been a mentor or investor in any Techstars company or program. Or anyone else who has been positively motivated or influenced by Techstars in any way.

When we started Techstars in 2006, our goal was to change the way early stage company creation and innovation worked. While we didn’t have the words for it then, we’ve evolved the language and the mission of the organization over the last decade which we now summarize in the tagline “Techstars is the global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses”

As part of building this global ecosystem of entrepreneurs, I’ve observed and experienced a massive issue around diversity in entrepreneurship. This is not a new issue to me as I’ve been working with various organizations, such as National Center for Women & Information Technology, since 2005.

Last year, in a conversation with the Techstars leadership team, we decided to start the Techstars Foundation with the goal of improving diversity in entrepreneurship. While we were already doing lots of things internally around this, by creating the foundation we have taken it up a level, as evidenced by our first five grants that were made last month.

Amy and I decided to launch this challenge grant as part of a larger gift from us to the Techstars Foundation. We hope you join us and support our efforts.

Also published on Medium.

  • Sebastien Latapie

    An awesome initiative! Great to see the support 🙂

  • Tabitha Farrar

    Very nice. And you are in a great position to have an effect, being a VC. “Diversity” covers a lot, but you mention the NCWIT so I’ll take that as a clue that increasing the number of women in tech is an aim.

    I’ve been interested in the fact that women founders get less than five percent of VC funding for a couple of years now. This comes despite evidence suggesting that women-led tech companies, when venture-backed, bring in 12 percent higher revenue than similar male-led companies and have a 35 percent higher return on investment.

    I think that much of this probably comes down the the pitch, and that women are written off early on. I’d love to see a blind test one day where the same pitch is given by a man, then a woman to VCs to see if it really can be narrowed down to gender more.

    Most VCs understand why a passionate founder/CEO is a huge asset to any company, but they label that passion as “emotion” when they see the same qualities displayed by a woman in a pitch. Emotion … passion … whatever you want to call it has a place in making a startup into a business worth investing in.

    Confidence is another word that is throw around in the mix of this type of conversation. It may be true that some women lack the confidence that men do (not something I personally have a problem with) but is this surprising given that they are held to a different standard when they display it?

    I could go on, but I won’t. I look forward to seeing what changes Techstars can influence.

  • Done

  • So friggin’ cool.

  • Don’t forget to share this with your network folks! Thank you Brad and Amy – incredibly generous, as usual.

  • Krista Marks

    Awesome & done!

  • Andy Cheung

    Hi Brad,

    I’m about to pull the trigger on my donation and about to lean on a lot of my likeminded friends as well 😉 I was wondering, is there a specific objective in mind related to the $300k? Also how much is committed already?

    • The $300k will be allocated to a number of organizations focused on increasing diversity in tech. 100% of the money will go to these organizations – Techstars is covering the cost of running the Foundation at this point.

      I think we’ve raised about 10% of it so far. We’ve done some promotion activity through the Techstars network in the past week and are starting to build momentum on the contributions as we explain what we are doing to everyone.