Wednesday, Erika Brodnock and Johannes Lenhard published their book, “Better Venture: Improving Diversity, Innovation, and Profitability in Venture Capital and Startups,” which serves as a guide for those looking to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the venture capital marketplace .
The authors conducted more than 80 interviews to assess progress made — and not made — in the US and European startup ecosystem, suggesting that the current venture capital funding model is archaic. They point out that, in its current structure, it resembles the economic model used by European slave traders. This perspective puts into context how, centuries later, black founders raise less than 2% of all venture funding.
“Organizational diversity is really just a starting point. If you do the “D” without the “I”, you will immediately lose people because people will not feel included. » Johannes Lenhard
Brodnock and Lenhard sat down with TechCrunch to discuss their book and the impact they hope it will have on the industry.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
How did you meet and why did you decide to write this book?
JL: I was starting to dig deeper into the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion in the venture capital world. I did a few pieces for Crunchbase, mostly around women, and Erika was one of the people I talked to. It turned out that there was a much larger project that we felt needed to start attacking immediately.
EB: I think the first song we wrote together literally jumped out at us and off the page. It was really easy. He wanted to explore writing this book and he came up with a proposal. I quickly jumped in and started adding stuff and said, “You know what, how about a look at the company history, a look at where we’re going and a look at where have we been?”
Personally, I’ve always had these bold ideas and always wanted to really change the system that I’ve put in place, whether it’s in edtech for kids or venture capital. I want to disrupt the system. [Johannes has] opened the doors for us to get, quite frankly, some of the most amazing people to talk to us who are incredibly experienced in the venture capital world. It was a pure pleasure to make this book.