Microsoft is investing over US$6 million to help accelerate opportunities for diverse startups. According to a Microsoft for Startups blog post by Jeana Jorgensen, the company will work with venture capital firms Backstage Capital and Black & Brown to empower underrepresented founders through sponsorship, cloud technology and additional support.
“Today, less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to women, people of colour, and LGBT founders,” said Arlan Hamilton, founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital. “Many Venture Capitals see this as a pipeline problem. We see it as the biggest opportunity in investment.”
Jorgensen says that Microsoft is focused on creating much greater diversity within its startup ecosystem. “We fundamentally believe great ideas come from anywhere and have repeatedly found that diversity fuels innovation,” she says. “We share Arlan's view of the opportunity in front of us, which is also backed by research showing how diverse founding teams outperform the market average.”