Diverse teams are better teams and have a positive impact on the performance of organizations. By signing the diversity statement #FundRight, NOM promises that within three years it will only invest in startups whose management team consists of at least 35% women. #FundRight was drafted by Techleap.nl. Meanwhile, more than 40 parties, including venture capitalists and ROMs, have signed the statement. Techleap.nl also calls on other investors to endorse the statement.
Startups get a lot of opportunities in the Netherlands. But if we look at the numbers, we see that it is a world where men play a predominant role. For example, 94.3% of growth money between 2008 and 2019 went to startups with only male founders. #FundRight wants better access to funding and opportunities for women entrepreneurs. The idea behind it is that investing in women-led companies will help raise the overall level of startups in the Netherlands. According to Techleap chairman Constantijn van Oranje, the mixed (management) teams thus created are "more versatile, resilient and stronger.
The best person for a position should fill that position, whether a man or a woman. But in the world of startups, there is implicit bias: unconscious bias. Often a lack of diversity is not a conscious choice, but arises almost naturally. Male investment managers search their own network of men for a suitable member for the SB of the startups they invest in. Or a man gives input to a job posting for the management team, which is therefore full of "male" terms to which mostly men respond. And then that vacancy is also posted in the company's own network, which is indeed composed mainly of men.
A study by the Center for Collective Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that when there are more women on a decision-making team, the outcomes of those decisions are better. The suspicion is that this is because women have a better understanding of the different perspectives involved in a decision. Making diversity negotiable will reverse the effect of bias so that more objective decisions are made.
Included in #FundRight is a target for partners to make results measurable: portfolio companies must have a management team made up of at least 35% women within three years. The same percentage must apply to investors themselves in three years.
Looking at the situation at NOM, there is work to be done. While our own investment team consists of 32% women, only 9% of our portfolio companies have a management team consisting of at least 35% women. In fact, 88% have management teams made up entirely of men. In order to improve these ratios and thereby promote the profitability of innovative companies, we want to get diversity permanently on the agenda.
Within three years, all startups and scaleups we invest in or have invested in will have a management team that is at least 35% women. That includes our investment team. By making the subject discussable, we will discover how to improve our own HR processes and how to get diversity on the agenda at startups in the Northern Netherlands.
We believe that being diverse is better for all businesses, because it leads to better business results. With the signing of #FundRight, diversity is a permanent topic on our agenda.
Director of NOM > Dina Boonstra
Words and deeds
With #FundRight, we are imposing a commitment on ourselves. From now on, diversity will be a fixed item on the agenda for investment requests. We will also sit down with our portfolio companies. In roundtables we want to bring investment managers, investors and women entrepreneurs together to hear what women entrepreneurs find important. If companies want to be future-proof, they have to do something with diversity. Precisely having different types of employees contributes to the profitability of an organization. I am surprised when companies develop products for women and no women are involved in the development of those products. With the signing of #FundRight, we are getting serious about female entrepreneurship. I call on women entrepreneurs and startups to
to come forward if they are looking for venture capital and investment money.
The boosters > Techleap.com
There is much ground to be gained
Research has shown time and again that diverse teams perform better: they are more creative, innovative and resilient than homogeneous teams. Yet Techleap.nl's diversity report shows that there is much ground to be gained in this area in the Netherlands. It is hopeful that so many venture capitalists and ROMs have already signed the #FundRight statement. The will to improve is there. Techleap.nl plays a facilitating role in this, to help venture capitalists and ROMs achieve their goals. Techleap.nl aims to put the Netherlands on the map as Europe's No. 1 ecosystem for tech startups and scaleups. Diversity ensures that this industry can continue to innovate.
The entrepreneur > Carver, Anton Rosier, ceo
Women provide new insights
Carver focuses on transportation solutions for smart, fast and sustainable travel. Women are an important target group, so it is natural to involve them early on in product development, sales and marketing. With the Carver, for example, we focus very much on safety in traffic. Women indicate that they also want to feel safe in the vehicle. That insight was incorporated into the choice of materials. We had thought about using plexiglass windows because of the weight, but opted for glass. And we also show this in our marketing, with pictures of women in a Carver in bad weather or when it is dark. Still a different feeling than images of men taking a tough turn. The contribution of women provides new insights, our solutions become better. And it creates a different atmosphere. With us nowadays you can achieve more with good arguments than with the biggest mouth.
Founded in Groningen > Lian de Boer, program manager
We try to be an example ourselves
With Founded in Groningen, we are working together with entrepreneurs, educational institutions and other organizations to create an ecosystem in which startups and scale-ups can grow optimally. In the coming years, we will focus broadly on diversity among entrepreneurs. We try to be an example ourselves in our own programs and events. Prince Constantijn of TechLeap no longer wants to be on a jury if it is not diverse. I think that's strong. We do the same. We also engage with parties we subsidize. For us, it's about diverse teams in the broad sense, so also of different nationalities and ages.