“As an entrepreneur, if I experience harassment or discrimination, where do I report it and how will I be protected?”
This question emerged at a founders dinner in November 2017. None of us had a good answer, so we started brainstorming. We asked our friends in VC if their firms had external policies and/or a reporting channel.
In opening the conversation, we learned that the issue was already top of mind for many VCs. But it was hard to see what individual firms were doing from the outside. So #MovingForward was born.
#MovingForward gathers VC commitments to foster a diverse, inclusive, and harassment-free workplace.
Specifically, our supporters have provided:
- Pubicly available anti-harassment/discrimination policies
- Point(s)-of-contact for entrepreneurs to ask questions and report issues
- A short statement on their efforts to nurture diverse, inclusive and harassment-free workplaces
Of note: Oftentimes the discussion of and efforts to address harassment and discrimination have focused narrowly on sexual harassment and gender discrimination. We strongly believe that we need comprehensively and intersectionally inclusive workplaces and policies that consider not just gender but also race, age, sexuality, disability status, family status, immigration status, and many other dimensions of identity and experience. As such, baking intersectionality into your materials is a requirement of joining #MovingForward.
This directory is open-source. Any firm can add and update their policies and point(s)-of-contact via our form, and we hope that every major venture firm will participate. We value progress over perfection, and admire the work of the following firms leading the venture industry towards inclusion:
“We’ve taken action towards creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces by making our discrimination & harassment policies and reporting contacts available to the public.”
VCs #MovingForward - North America
VCs #MovingForward - Europe
VCs #MovingForward - Asia, Australia & New Zealand
“We have created reporting contacts and a policy, but #MovingForward cannot confirm that a copy of the policy will be available digitally upon request.”
“We pledge to share our statement, external policy, and point(s)-of-contactin the next 30 days.”
Continue to share your progress
As of March 8, 2019, we are working with 148 firms total. We invite additional VCs to commit by sharing their policies, statements, and points-of-contact via our form. Not sure where to start? Check out our resources.
If you’re a founder, and your investor isn’t on here yet, please share #MovingForward with them.
- Value for Firms: VCs say the process of making their policies public and establishing reporting lines has sparked conversations and aligned the firm’s partnership internally around this matter.
- Value for Founders: #MovingForward makes it easier for founders to review policies, find supportive investors, and identify reporting contacts. If you don’t see your investors on here, share this project with them.
But really, why are you doing this?
A small group of entrepreneurs came together with three goals:
Launch a public, collective step forward for the venture industry. We aim to highlight each firm’s approach and commitment so that we can learn and move together. Crafting external anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies is an important first step––and there’s much more do to. We’ve been impressed by a number of firms launching their own creative initiatives to catalyze change.
Facilitate transparent reporting channels. Entrepreneurs facing harassment or discrimination are often unsure where and how to report. It can feel like going public is the only choice, and as such, our community faces significant under-reporting of incidents. One way firms can address this need is by providing formal point(s)-of-contact for entrepreneurs. Some VCs are working with third-party groups to nail down the proper templates/policies or reporting channels for raising concerns. We endorse this practice. #MovingForward also supports having internal point(s)-of-contact contact who can answer questions about the firm’s policy and provide further information if need be.
Provide a universal, open-source, and evolving wiki for continuous updates. As policies and supporting strategies evolve and the industry continues to iterate, we want to provide an open platform where any firm can self-report their efforts. We are hosting this directory on GitHub.
For those thinking: “We don’t have anything yet, where do we start?”
Templates and example policies:
- Guidelines for VCs Writing Discrimination and Harassment Policies (The #MovingForward team & Dr. Freada Kapor Klein)
- NVCA resources to help address harassment in the venture ecosystem, which include (1) sample H.R. policies for addressing harassment & discrimination; (2) sample H.R. best practices for addressing harassment & discrimination; and (3) a sample code of conduct
- Venture Inclusion Network hosts a curated directory of experts and services, initiatives in the industry, sample policies, best practices and more
- Anti-Harassment Policy Template for Startups (Greylock Partners)
- A template for investor/founder harassment policy (TechCrunch)
- Level classifications of harassment and assault (Cheryl Yeoh Sew Hoy)
Organizations, consultants, and tools:
- Project Include, a non-profit focused on building meaningful, enduring diversity and inclusion within tech startups and as well as their broader ecosystem (e.g., guide to writing a code of conduct)
- Venture Inclusion Network hosts a list of diversity and inclusion experts, consulting firms, and service providers.
CNN - “She spoke out about harassment in tech. Now, she’s helping VCs ‘move forward’” (March 8, 2018)
Recode - “Some venture capital firms are publicizing their sexual harassment policies for the first time” (March 8, 2018)
Pando - “Beyond #MeToo: A new initiative #MovingForward seeks to hold a newly shaken Silicon Valley accountable” (March 8, 2018)
Bloomberg - “Next Steps for #MovingForward and #MeToo” (March 22, 2018)
Institutional Investor - “Venture Capital Has a ‘MeToo’ Problem. Have Investors Been Ignoring It?” (March 26, 2018)
American Enough - “Stopping Sexual Misconduct In Silicon Valley - The Co-Founders Of #MovingForward” (July 23, 2018)
From Our Supporters
- Homebrew Blog - “Human Resources Policy at Startups” (March 4, 2018)
- First Round Capital - “Questions we get all the time” (March 8, 2018)
- 500 Startups - “500’s Commitment to #MovingForward” (March 8, 2018)
- True Ventures - “3 Women Founders Share Career Obstacles They Overcame” (March 8, 2018)
- Bowery Capital - “Announcing Our Involvement In Project #MovingForward” (March 8, 2018)
- Costanoa Ventures - “Our Berlin Wall Moment: How Venture is #MovingForward” (March 8, 2018)
- Upfront Ventures - “Why We Have Zero Tolerance for Sexual Misconduct” & “Upfront VC Inclusion Clause” (March 8, 2018)
- Zetta Venture Partners - “Moving Forward Together” (March 8, 2018)
- Laconia Capital Group - “Moving Forward and Beyond: Our Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Harassment” (April 6, 2018)
- Ellen Pao / Project Include - “#MovingForward Together” (March 8, 2018)
- Cheryl (Yeoh) Sew Hoy - “#MovingForward: Highlighting VCs Committed to Action” (March 8, 2018)
- Mark Suster - “The VC Inclusion Clause #MovingForward” (March 8, 2018)
- Aydin Senkut - “Reflections on #MovingForward” (March 8, 2018)
- Brad Feld - “International Women’s Day #StartWithEight #MovingForward” (March 8, 2018)
- Rob Hayes - “Making Diversity Core to Community” (March 26, 2018)
- Yrjö Ojasaar - “Change Ventures first in the Baltics to join #MovingForward” (February 25, 2018)
- Alice Bentinck - “#MovingForward from harassment and discrimination in fundraising” (March 5, 2019)
- capital300 - “Fostering Inclusion While Striving For Diversity” (March 7, 2019)
- Balderton Capital - “Why We’re #MovingForward” (March 8, 2019)
- LocalGlobe - “LocalGlobe Joins Project #MovingForward” (March 8, 2019)
- GrowthInvest - “GrowthInvest Supports the #MovingForward Initiative as a European Launch Partner” (March 8, 2019)
This open-source directory was built in collaboration with the VCs listed above and …
Thank you to all of the entrepreneurs, VCs, and larger community for sparking positive change in our industry. 2017 was a period of sharing, listening, and processing. Now is the time for action and #MovingForward.