Episode #16: “Why the VC World Needs to Be Less Homogeneous & How to fix it” - Seb Butt, Partnerships & Internships Lead - Diversity VC and Founder & Programme Director - Future VC
Hi, my name is Seb Butt and I work for a fast growing start-up called Craft, as their General Manager for Europe. In addition I am an investor and a non-executive director at boutique executive search firm Engage Infotech. I am an advocate of organisations of all forms, types and in all industries making systemic changes which can lead to opportunities for everyone. This interest led me to join Diversity VC back in 2016 as a volunteer and I still work with Diversity VC now and most recently, in fact this past summer, I helped to launch the Future VC programme. The Future VC programme is the first of its kind globally and we brought together 30 people from diverse backgrounds who had a desire to learn more about venture capital as a potential career. Today I will talk about the importance of diversity within Venture Capital specifically, but much of the rationale can be applied to any industry, and in the second half of the podcast I will share a few tips that you can start to use today to make your place of work or industry a more inclusive and diverse place to be. Broadly speaking some of the fastest growing businesses in the past 20 years have been huge technology companies and many of these have leveraged venture capital funding in order to hit growth milestones and ultimately become successful. It is accurate to say that VC investors take on high risks to put money behind new ideas. However, whilst VC might be the dynamic and exciting subset of the private equity industry, the industry is still lagging behind others across the board when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Diversity VC was set up in 2016. It is a non-profit which is focused on diversity of thought within venture capital and by extension within the start-up ecosystem. One powerful impact of Diversity VC has been its ability to evoke debate but Diversity VC is also very keen to implement practical strategies to make a difference and one of these practical efforts was this past summer when we launched Future VC which is a programme to support highly-skilled professionals and graduates from diverse backgrounds into the UK VC landscape. (...) We understand that many firms are breaking with well-worn hiring habits. Some firms that volunteered to take on an intern from Future VC had not hired any interns before. We want firms to understand that talent is evenly distributed and, so far, opportunity has not been. We’re also keen for them to understand that they don’t need to undergo huge upheaval to reap the benefits of this untapped talent, and in fact, just a small few procedural tweaks are required. I am now going to offer you 4 of tips and ideas about ways you can either use to position yourself better to get a job in VC, or a job full-stop! Tip 1 - Research everything and everyone Tip 2 - Network with a purpose Tip 3 - Connect with people Tip 4 - Deep dive into a subject Thanks so much for having me on 50inTech podcast. Diversity VC and I are very aligned with the goals and ambitions of 50inTech and I am excited to be on the platform. The practical nature of 50inTech is perfect and I would encourage everyone to use it and be involved in this community. Only by working together collaboratively across industries, across companies and across communities we can have a positive change.I believe 50inTech will be a valid contributor enabling women to involve in technology.