Pro-choice is a fiduciary responsibility – it’s going to get bigger

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We all know the statistics about gender representation among venture capital investors—unfortunately it’s very difficult to gather a room of female investors unless the meeting is specifically about being a female investor.

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For me, abortion isn’t just a woman’s issue, so I didn’t really expect a lack of representation from my male colleagues.

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We chatted about why that might be — why more venture firms weren’t signing up.

There are 75 firms that have added themselves to this list but there are several notable exceptions. It’s great to see whales out there like InSight Partners, but there are a few other established names and they’re mostly smaller, like Eniac, Anthemis, and Bloomberg Beta.

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Many firms are either new or focused on female founders such as BBG and the Female Founders Fund.

Someone speculated that perhaps the big firms were concerned with the results of LPs – that your investors might walk away if the LP was a Catholic charity or a Notre Dame endowment. It didn’t really make a lot of sense to me, because I really don’t think Benchmark, Sequoia, First Round Capital or Union Square Ventures are doing a disadvantage for the LP—and once those guys signed on, it Your kind of list becomes to be turned on.

I would argue that this is a list that VCs need to be on anyway because it is their fiduciary responsibility to support a woman’s right to choose when she wants to have a family, if at all. To do anything less is to artificially withhold returns for the entire asset class, which betrays the VC’s responsibility to its limited partners.

I’m not going to argue that you can’t build or be involved in a tremendously successful startup and have a family at the same time—but I would certainly argue that it’s almost impossible to do without a lot of planning. Is. Unplanned children, given the pathetic state of childcare in this country, cost women educational attainment – ​​reducing the talent pool of both founders and startup employees.

If startup success and asset class performance correlates with having the best and brightest available and fully prepared to build startups, you’re going to shrink that talent pool until they can pick it up. That’s when it’s up to them to start. family.

The same is true for men. Unplanned pregnancies can cause men to leave the startup talent pool because they are not able to take early stage risks with a new family or additional family members at a young age for whom they did not budget until later.

In an ideal world, we would fund childcare and healthcare completely so that the tradeoff between raising and raising children and getting an education or working hard on career goals isn’t so hard—but that doesn’t seem to be an American priority. moment. We can make hardworking high school and college students sick of lowering their education or their aspirations because they were forced to build a family before they even took a shot at building the next big thing.

We also can’t tolerate seasoned talent for not being able to lend their intelligence and experience to a new company, making it better and more likely to succeed, as they inadvertently have an extra mouthful to feed. get injured, throw them out of the game. For early stage startup risk.

I’ve written checks to three companies with pregnant co-founders. All these women are amazing and I’m honestly not sure how they did what they did—but what I did know was that all these pregnancies were planned. I don’t know if it’s possible to have all this, to be honest, to be honest, but I don’t think you got it by mistake. It requires thoughtfulness and preparation – we can skip it if we really want to focus on innovation.

Marc Andreessen in his call to “build” states that we must “care for the people who build”.

In what world is it caring builders to take away a woman’s choice to delay building a family until she has completed some great construction?

“We need to separate the inevitability of making these things from ideology and politics,” he says.

I agree.

Let’s not allow any politician to dictate to any female founder when is best for her career and her company is a family to her. Mark talks about the heavy hand of government throttling innovation, so how come his firm isn’t supporting freedom from government interference with regards to family planning? Do they think it’s a good idea for the government to force a nonpartner founder to just write a $100mm check to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

Tough things are tough, and unknowingly they are even harder as a single parent.

I’m sure some investors and their underlying LPs will argue that this is an ethical question they don’t want to weigh in, but it’s typical to argue ethics here.

You can judge everyone you want, but when it comes to electing representatives for your views, there is no moral vote against abortion – because of what kind of politicians stand in line on each side.

Supporting pro-life politicians today supports other positions that make life harder on the poor, take away healthcare, trample on LGBTQ rights, endanger our democracy, and often support the death penalty. is, and puts more guns on the streets.

I mean, they don’t even support the child tax credit or childcare program—childcare! So even if the founders you support decide to have kids and work at a startup at the same time, the lack of available and affordable childcare may be holding them back. These are the people who have no interest in children after they are born.

Simply put, the collateral damage caused by any single issue of the pro-life vote cannot possibly be justified – as with today’s American right wing, there is the issue of brutality.

But if it doesn’t affect them, if and when your LP tells you that they will need to withdraw their financial support in support of a female founder’s right to choose her career and family path, ask them how they justify. Can, from a credible standpoint, hold back from candidates who would close America’s borders—knowing full well how much wealth immigrant founders have made for limited partners in the asset class over the years.

Pro-life votes are not votes for venture capital returns. They do not support a society where the best and brightest people have the agency to design their lives, take financial risks at optimal times and get the support they need when deciding to bring a family into the picture .

If you’re the founder of Sequoia, Benchmark, Union Square Ventures, First Round Capital, A16Z, and all the other top-tier firms, why haven’t they signed up for a coalition supporting the agency of women over their lives and their bodies – And if they’re against it, what does it mean if they join your board, what kind of agency do they think female founders should have?

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