We at West are deeply saddened by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. It is without a doubt and yet another example of the institutionalized racism that continues to plague America and we stand with all of those who feel saddened, angered, and seek change.
The challenge facing this country will only be solved when we, as a society, take a long term, deliberate and systematic effort to eradicate racism in all of its forms. In adding our own voice to the current dialogue, we seek to create space for conversation and to take action that ignites change. It would be against our brand values – Truth-telling, Uncommon, Relentless, Brave, Optimists – to simply watch from the sidelines.
As a Venture Studio, we are literally in the business of designing and funding the future. Minute by minute, day by day, we make decisions that guide and shape the sort of future that we all want to live in. As such, we have always believed that diversity of people, and therefore their voices and perspectives, are a better perspective. We have always governed our own business with that in mind.
We are intentionally building our own team to be as diverse and representative as possible. Our portfolio includes a number of women and minority founded businesses. But these are table-stakes. This is only the start.
Instead, we pledge to do more, to always ask what more can be done, today and long after the emotion from the current state of events has subsided for some. And so as founders, partners and leaders of your own communities, we ask that you join us in building an intentionally diverse future.
- We need to acknowledge and be aware of our biases. We need to be deliberate in bringing diversity and underrepresented races into our business.
- We need to be aware of the limitations of our own networks in hiring and actively seek employees, partners and vendors outside of them.
- We need to continually educate ourselves on the topic of systemic racism, oppression and unconscious bias, and create safe working environments where we are comfortable having uncomfortable conversions.
- We need to make diversity a business-critical KPI and be unswerving in socializing and reaching that goal.
In respecting and acknowledging the deep injustice of the murder of George Floyd and the countless other lives that have been lost as a result of institutionalized racism, we want to use this moment to urge our networks, partners and friends to use their power, standing and voices to be sustained, and intentional agents for a more diverse, fair and representative future.
We don’t have all of the answers and we know that the type of change we are talking about will take substantial effort and commitment––much more than anything we have previously done–– but that is how we, at West, will live our pillars to their fullest extent and how we are committed to building for impact.