One of AENU’s pillars in our Theory of Change is to create real opportunities. We define real opportunities as an approach to human wellbeing that aims to level the playing field by focusing on three principles: equality, equity and inclusion.
For us, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is not just part of our ESG strategy, it is core to the impact that we aim to achieve in venture capital and beyond: contributing to building fairer and more inclusive entrepreneurship and investing ecosystems. Therefore, we look at DEI through an internal and external impact lens. Internally, we examine our culture, our processes and our relationships with entrepreneurs. Externally, we focus on creating unprecedented access to the asset class to both founders and individuals.
Although DEI has come to the forefront of VC discussions, we are still far from taking the necessary action:
- Deployment of capital: Less than 2% of capital goes to female founded teams. Less than 0.2% of capital goes to teams with at least one woman of color founder
- Management of capital: Only 13% of fund partners are women
- Source of capital: As an industry, we haven’t even started to think critically about where VC funds comes from, and how to diversify access to the asset class
Diversity in Venture Capital
At AENU, we go beyond ensuring equal access in venture capital, and instead work toward providing real opportunities. We strive to level the playing field and deliver resources, assets and knowledge to underrepresented founders & investors. Increasing real opportunities in venture capital will require: (1) a more nuanced understanding of sources of disparity, (2) additional resources and support for target groups, (3) re-structuring financial products, and (4) willingness of those in power to share profits and success. Needless to say, AENU cannot, and will not, work alone in redesigning a more equal and inclusive venture capital system.
Fundamentally, we believe that people of all identities, backgrounds and conditions deserve a seat at the table, a voice at the table, and more importantly, they deserve to be heard at the table. To fulfill our DEI vision, we have built a robust and transparent strategy, with concrete policies and targets, and have appointed Melina Sánchez Montañés as our Chief DEI officer.
Talent & Culture
- We meaningfully engage and partner with organizations championing DEI. We actively look beyond the traditional VC and entrepreneurial networks.
- We post open roles publicly and are vocal about screening criteria to make clear that we actively seek diverse professionals.
- We are mindful of our communication, and review every word for neutrality and inclusivity.
- We speak openly about unconscious biases and train the team to spot and avoid them in interview, feedback and promotion processes.
- We have built a structured and fair recruitment process, from application to negotiation, where the perspectives of multiple people at different levels and functions of the organization are taken into account.
- We are transparent, upfront, about our internal compensation and professional development schemes. We use a data-driven and results-oriented approach in evaluation processes.
- We are building a work environment that adapts to the various circumstances of our team members, from flexible hours to remote work.
- We nurture a culture of open communication, constructive feedback and individual empowerment, where every voice matters.
- We evaluate team members against inclusive leadership.
- We welcome open investment applications through our website, without requiring warm introductions. We commit to evaluate all applications fairly.
- We create space for serendipity and take the time to meet with underrepresented founders without requiring warm introductions.
- We partner with DEI-aligned investors, organizations and other spaces to ensure we are looking at all corners of the entrepreneurial ecosystem
- We track diversity at different stages of our deal flow to understand and correct missed opportunities. At the end of the funnel, we target 40% of all our investments to have at least one diverse founder and 80% to have at least one diverse C-level
- We include DEI considerations in our investment and due diligence process
- We ask all our portfolio companies to sign our ESG & Impact clause, which includes DEI commitments, before closing a financing round
- We aggregate and provide resources and tailored support to portfolio companies in DEI matters
The Diversity VC Standard
AENU is a proud partner of Diversity VC, the leaders in diversity and inclusion for the venture capital industry. Following Diversity VC’s assessment, we are extremely proud to have achieved The Diversity VC Standard for AENU. The Diversity VC Standard aims to set a benchmark for best practice on diversity and inclusion within the venture capital industry and aims to raise awareness within the broader technology ecosystem