The lack of diversity in the Indian investor ecosystem is leading to groupthink

There are 2 women in over 200 General partners at 49 Venture Capital firms in India. (Vani Kola – Kalaari and Bharati Jacob – Seed Fund).

That’s it. 2 out of 200+.

Everyone else is male, between 30 and 50, with a technical education at the undergraduate level (53% are from IIT) and likely a MBA from a top program.

There are 7 women among 400+ associates, vice presidents and investment professionals.

So, why are we surprised that every VC invested in eCommerce companies in 2010?

Why are we shocked that less than 2% of tech entrepreneurs are women?

Why do we not hold ourselves to a higher standard?

This causes GroupThink.

We have a serious problem folks. We need to address this or we will keep rejecting folks or marginalizing those that are more deserving.

It hurts entrepreneurs in the short term. It hurts us as investors in the medium term. It hurts the entire ecosytem in the long term.

Now, I dont think the solution is to just hire a bunch of women as associates to window dress.

We have to find a way to support women & marginalized sections of our community, to be investors, and help raise a fund and participate.

Else we will all lose.

4 thoughts on “The lack of diversity in the Indian investor ecosystem is leading to groupthink”

  1. Can we know the number of individuals in the VC asset class who have started a company in past? Even failed ones but with an effort to start a company of their own in past makes sense. What I found is that most these MBA/IIT elements are mostly corporate bullshit. My rough guesstimate is that about 93% of these 200+ individual belong to that bullshitter class who has never started a company in their lives and failed with it. Especially when it comes to tech scene and corresponding venture risk. For businessspeak and red tape though, these guys are probably the best. Don’t take it personally, portfolios and quality of questions from these assholes when you pitch give a clear and solid picture. Portfolio is another way to eke out truth.

  2. I know 3 women running a start-up. Before looking to support women in start-ups, we need to look at career support offered to women across maternity leave under male supervisors and also look at acceptance of women to represent business by the Indian male customer.

  3. For anyone interested in this topic, I highly recommend listening/viewing of a recent speech (at Stanford) by Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia, where she shares interesting research data on this issue and also insights on how “access to business networks, expertise and capital play out across gender lines”.

    She highlights how, in a funding ecosystem that depends so much on networking, the existing set up of men and women having separate business networks presents a key challenge. And how, for the solution, both men and women need to “get comfortable with uncomfortable”

    The full speech is available at
    http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=3212

    The “get comfortable with uncomfortable” segment is at
    http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=3234

  4. You should also look at how many of the investor community returned from successful jobs/businesses from the US or other western countries and how many have built a business in India,

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