The Future of Diversity in Venture Capital

When I started this blog, I was in Sweden, celebrating a family reunion. Watching dozens of my Indian relatives convene in a small, very Nordic, village, I wondered what this sudden burst of diversity felt like to the people who call the collection of houses on the North Sea, home.

That week was filled with catching up, making new memories and spending time with the people I love. And it was a poignant reminder that diversity is relative. Anyone can be “normal” or “different” — it all depends on their environmental context.

It just so happens, however, that the Venture Capital world is diversity-challenged. And at K8, it’s one of my goals to change that. In fact, it’s my goal to re-contextualize the concept of “normal” in the VC space all together. While “normal” can be subconsciously comfortable (hello affinity bias) and easy, it does not inspire change or promise advancement. Frequently, “normal” is an excuse for close-mindedness and thought rooted in scarcity and limitations.

So as K8 expands, we want to make diversity the new, for lack of a better word, normal.

I’m currently in the process of finalizing K8’s board, and in the search for members, finding individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives was a top priority. Currently I have a board of four exceptional members, two of which are women, two of which are men. While their experiences living with their respective genders provides multifaceted investment and entrepreneurial insights, K8 has also greatly benefited from the breadth of professional experience that each member brings to the table.

From careers in elementary school teaching, financial services, technological entrepreneurship, we have a team who each have their unique way of approaching problems.This means that for every obstacle K8 faces, we have, different lenses through which to view and ultimately overcome what stands in our way. Our diversity is ultimately a source of balance that prevents dogmatism from overtaking practicality, growth from overtaking the need for stability, and a focus on the technical from stunting creativity and big-picture thinking.

In practice, this means that with the board’s breadth and depth, K8 can offset shortfalls or gaps in experience that exist at the portfolio company level. This edge allows us to push boundaries and take on new concepts, not from the thrill of risk-seeking, but out of a balanced, experience-based understanding of diverse enterprises.

What we’ve built at K8 is exciting and game-changing, but it’s only the beginning. It’s my goal, that as we grow, our diversity not only increases, further expanding the point-of-views that inform our decisions, but that we also inspire others in our industry to take our approach.

The risk is not in letting new, different people into the space, it’s in allowing constancy and stagnancy to overwhelm our ability to identify and capture opportunities.

And that’s a risk we are NOT willing to take.

Find out more about K8’s board here.

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