Twitter critics spurred SF accelerator Acceleprise to commit to adding a person of color to its Friday future-of-work panel, along with a promise to do that for all future events
Acceleprise, a software startup accelerator headquartered in San Francisco, announced that it was organizing a future-of-work panel this week featuring an all-star list of panelists including Zoom CEO Eric Yuan. The firm's announcement quickly attracted some critics on Twitter, who pointed out that no black founders, tech executives, or venture capitalists made the list of panelists. Acceleprise responded by committing to organizing more diverse panels in the future, and upon further prodding, added that it would be hunting to add a new panelist for their event Friday. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Startups and venture firms rushing to remedy the industry's lack of diversity may now be held accountable on public platforms like Twitter, a fact that one startup accelerator quickly found out on Monday. Acceleprise, a San Francisco-based accelerator that specializes in incubating software startups, announced that it would be holding a panel on the future of work with a list of all-star panelists including Zoom CEO Eric Yuan this Friday. The venture firm has also promised to add a person of color to its list of panelists, but the move only came about after critics called out Acceleprise for organizing a panel to discuss a "diverse" and "inclusive" future of work without including a single black panelist. "Ain't no black people working in the future?" Del Johnson, a venture capitalist who's been vocal about the industry's systemic lack of diversity, quickly asked. Acceleprise, which has already issued a statement in solidarity with the black community, immediately thanked Johnson for pointing that out. Olivia O'Sullivan, Acceleprise's head of corporate engagement and partnerships, said that the team had committed to amplifying the voices of black, indigenous, and other persons of color in the future. Another critic pushed back. Wouldn't it be possible to begin that effort even sooner by adding a person of color to Friday's event? "People who care about diversity in tech have been hearing "we'll do better moving forward" for years," said Dave Heal, who works at the online analytics platform Socialgist. Silicon Valley's call for change Over the past two weeks, ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd and police brutality have trained a spotlight on Silicon Valley's longstanding problems with diversity. Startups and venture firms, including Acceleprise, have issued statements in solidarity with the black community and committed to both hire and fund more black-founded startups, moving forward. One concern expressed by founders and venture capitalists alike, is how long the momentum will last. After all, the tech industry has largely been able to evade scrutiny for its hiring, promotion, funding, and business practices for years. But as people inside and outside tech companies grow less enthralled with the tech industry, and are more willing to draw attention to their practices, some industry observers are hopeful that this time, the changes may be more lasting. "I think internally [in the tech industry], you're seeing levels [of] dissatisfaction you haven't seen before, and I think externally ... you're seeing that public accountability," Y-Vonne Hutchinson, CEO of ReadySet and an expert on inclusion and diversity issues, told Business Insider. "And for a lot of people in Silicon Valley, even without these marches, there was a reckoning that was starting to happen." In Acceleprise's case, that public accountability seems to be making a difference. "I want the future of work to look more diverse and inclusive — so WE have to make sure our panels look this way too," Acceleprise's O'Sullivan tweeted. In an email to Business Insider, O'Sullivan confirmed that the company is hunting for a new panelist for Friday.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
More like this (3)
An NYC-based accelerator that supports startups in the verticals of AI, blockchain, cloud, and data New...An NYC-based accelerator that supports startups in the verticals of AI, blockchain, cloud, and data New York, NY, (December 14, 2020) – Aves Lair, a New York-based venture capital and frontier technology accelerator, announced today the debut of three innovative startups in its Winter 2020 cohort. The program, which...
Law firms are using new tech to cut costs. These are the startups set to benefit — and what it means for the future of legal careers.
Summary List Placement The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated virtually every industry's path to digitize and...Summary List Placement The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated virtually every industry's path to digitize and the notoriously old-school world of law is no exception. Legal firms are demanding more innovation in a bid to improve efficiency and as clients seek lower costs. VCs are seeing promise in the space, opening their wallets to fund legal tech startups. Last year, Bloomberg Law reported that...
Silicon Valley leaders say VCs that are now flocking to safer late-stage investments rather than early startups could shrink their future pipeline of growth companies to back
VC experts talked about how COVID-19 is changing the venture capital industry on Wednesday in an...VC experts talked about how COVID-19 is changing the venture capital industry on Wednesday in an online panel discussion hosted by PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has led firms to put less money into small, risky startups, and direct more towards established, stable companies. Such strategies run the risk of eventually drying up the pipeline...