We at Plaza Ventures believe that being intentional about inclusion and diversity is beneficial to the long term success of any company. While we are all subject to unintentional biases, we must challenge ourselves to explore the unconscious places from which we operate in order to better our workplaces, organizations, and communities.
Many studies and surveys have pointed to better performance in teams and Boards when they reflect greater diversity. One such study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that firms with a diverse set of leaders are 45% more likely to report market share growth and 70% more likely to secure a new market. This makes deep intuitive sense, as different perspectives with open questioning and discussion usually lead to well rounded thinking about how to tackle problems and opportunities.
From our perspective, inclusion should not be seen as a program but as an opportunity to learn from one another, to grow better together, to strengthen the entrepreneurial landscape, and to inspire meaningful change with sustainable results.
A number of our portfolio companies are at the forefront of this movement. They have taken it upon themselves to address the biases that exist in the tech industry, move beyond conversation and take action to foster a more inclusive ecosystem. We are proud to support our Founders and their growing teams. By opening their doors to difference and welcoming inclusion, they are setting a strong example of what it takes to be part of the solution.
Innovation Through Diversity
“Diversity needs to be fundamentally rooted in the tech industry. Technology and innovation are meant to disrupt the status quo and to make the world a better place. We, as technologists, are responsible for creating equitable products for everyone.”
– Vitaly Pecherskiy, COO of StackAdapt
In June 2017, StackAdapt launched #HackDiversity, an 18-minute documentary, as a call to action against unconscious biases and barriers to diversity within the tech industry.
Several months later, StackAdapt continued its commitment to diversity in tech through the launch of “Unbiasify” an open-source project that removes the name and profile photo of candidates on online recruitment platforms.
In 2017, Busbud announced The Omnibus Project, an initiative to promote diversity in tech. Their mission is to create an open and connected world where people can travel, move around, work and live without prejudice by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or capacity. Each quarter the team carries out up to 5 actions to help foster diversity, and reports publicly on their progress.
In 2017, Hubba released an open source framework to help companies track diversity within their teams. The company’s inclusion committee implemented the framework with the goal of better understanding its organization and identifying the gaps within its own practices. Since its initial roll out, the team has helped other companies recognize the value of surveying and reporting on diversity in the tech community.
“I wholeheartedly believe that more diverse teams perform better. I have seen it at Hubba and all published data support this concept. It’s a continuous journey but we are proof it works. I benefit if other companies in our ecosystem perform well on the global stage so I am very much in favour of companies focusing on the issue.”
– Ben Zifkin, CEO of Hubba
A Community Effort
The following organizations in our community are concentrated on promoting diversity and we’re proud to support them in their initiatives:
CVCA – Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association
The CVCA is the voice of Canada’s venture capital and private equity industry. The CVCA works alongside its members, who represent the vast majority of private capital firms in Canada, to improve the industry and drive innovation and growth. PV Partner Matthew Leibowitz sits on the Board of Directors.
Catalyst is a global non-profit working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst drives change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership – because progress for women is progress for everyone.
Prospect is a free and fully-aggregated career network built by-and-for the Canadian tech startup ecosystem. The organization’s mission is to unite the global talent pool with the nation’s startup industry by increasing the accessibility of both job opportunities and talented people.
The 30% Club
The 30% Club is a group of Chairs & CEOs committed to achieving better gender balance at board level, as well as senior management levels through voluntary action. The organization launched in the UK in 2010, and is now a global effort with chapters in Australia, Canada, GCC, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Southern Africa, and the United States.