Working towards radical inclusion
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Working towards radical inclusion

Yumi Tsoy
Written by
Yumi Tsoy
Posted on
July 26, 2022

At BGV we see diversity and inclusion as a thread that runs through everything we do. It also means that, as with any other part of a business, it is something to consistently review and improve upon. 

2020 saw us become the first European VC, to our knowledge, to publish extensive portfolio diversity data. In 2021, we decided to build on our work by taking a more complex and nuanced approach focusing on intersectionalities and inclusion in our portfolio.

We partnered with portfolio company TEXpert AI to complete this analysis.

Our approach to surveying our portfolio on diversity and inclusion 

We designed our diversity survey using guidance set by the UK government. This includes encouraging respondents to self describe their ethnicity in their own words if they do not feel the options in the list provided apply to them. Socio-economic background questions were guided by the Cabinet Office publication on the ‘Evaluation of measures of socio-economic background’. 

Inclusion measures were added in 2021 which were adapted from The Gartner Inclusion Index categories to founders in the survey. Founders were asked their level of agreement to seven statements; fair treatment, integrating differences, decision-making, psychological safety, trust, belonging, and diversity. 

Benchmarking our performance

Benchmarking helps us to hold ourselves to account and to contextualise our performance. Together with TEXpert AI, we decided to compare our data against population (rather than industry) benchmarks. If we want to work towards a fairer and more representative investment ecosystem, we need to compare ourselves to the wider population rather than an industry rife with inequalities. 

Intersectionality was another addition to the 2021 D&I analysis. Texpert AI analytics allowed us to explore multiple diversity metrics at once. For example, rather than just comparing women versus men, we could also see if there were any differences between women and men of different ethnicities or socio-economic backgrounds. We then compared multiple categories against each other to see if there were any meaningful differences in their sentiments on inclusion.

Some highlight stats

19% of founders identify as LGBTQIA (2020: 16%)

42% of founders come from ethnic minority backgrounds (2020: 37%)

18% of founders have a disability (2020: 6%)

Our full data set and our stats compared against population benchmarks can be seen on page 43 of our Impact Report

Assessing our portfolio inclusion 

We were pleased to achieve an overall inclusion score of 4.4 out of 5. This score is more than just a number. It is an indication that founders in our community feel that the BGV community values their opinions and treats them fairly. 

The inclusion score is an average of seven scores measuring psychological safety, sense of belonging, level of trust, fair treatment, ability to integrate differences, equitable decision-making and perceptions of diversity and inclusion in the BGV community.

We explored a variety of intersections in our diversity and inclusion analysis because we acknowledge that multiple factors can shape a person’s experience. Failing to look at intersectionalities risks missing potentially important insights. 

For example, just over half of our founders are men. This stat on its own does not necessarily present cause for concern. However, looking at intersectionalities allowed us to see that men from Asian or Asian British backgrounds felt less included than the average founder in the community (scoring 0.4 points lower). Meanwhile, Black, African, Caribbean or Black British women felt the least included with an average score of 3.3 out of 5. These were not the results we were hoping to see, but they make it easier for us to take focussed action. 

With the insights surfaced from our extensive diversity and inclusion analysis, we are making several commitments to work towards a community where every group feels equally included. These include increasing representation within the wider BGV community, ensuring our communications have accessibility at their core, and renewing our focus on mental health. 

Read our Impact & Learning report for more details on our commitment to, and actions on, diversity and inclusion.