3 Ways to Make Tech Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive in 2020

TL;DR

We don’t have a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) tech industry. We need one to serve the market better, take the money that’s being left on the table, and produce outsized returns for all. There’s a lack of dollars going to underestimated founders and companies addressing underserved communities, and a lack of diverse check writers.

How can we make it a DEI tech industry? Approaches can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Increasing the number of underestimated tech talent (also promote, sponsor, and pay well)
  2. Increasing the dollars going into underestimated tech founders and dollars going into companies addressing underserved communities
  3. increasing the number of, and support to, investors who come from underestimated backgrounds

Long Version

I love tech. It’s inspired me and I’ve grown up in it: corporate, startup, and venture capital, you name it! But there’s so much work to do to make tech more diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI). Just take a look at (the lack of) diversity in Silicon Valley. It doesn’t make sense that there is still tech that doesn’t recognize dark skin or has racial bias and that some tech is only made for fair-skinned people. Nor does it make sense that recruiting and much of investing happens based on old tropes and pattern matching or that investors are so homogenous (read white and male). Now is the time to change this.

Here’s how white VC funded startups are:

Here’s how white VC’s are:

Why it doesn’t make sense to hold back on a diverse, equitable, and inclusive tech industry

Focusing on a white elite subsection of society (think +$2K Peloton), and not looking at the diverse market opportunities, is leaving money on the table. U.S. demographics and purchasing power are shifting to the underserved. Women today hold 70–80% of all purchasing power. In 2020, women’s buying power will amount to over $40 Trillion worldwide. In 2030, Latinx purchasing power will stand at $1.7 Trillion in the U.S. By 2045, the U.S. will be a minority-majority country. Diverse teams drive better returns and the list goes on. So, tech, let’s get with it!

In this post, I share what I’m doing to bring DEI in 2020 and how you can join in on the action, request support on your journey or just keep me accountable. Feel free to scroll to the section that’s of most interest:

  1. Increase underestimated tech talent
  2. Increase dollars going into underestimated tech founders
  3. Increase dollars going into companies addressing underserved communities

At this point, you may be wondering, who are you?

My name is Lolita Taub, daughter of Mexican immigrants. I grew up poor. My first home was a garage and people used to tell me that I’d be a high school dropout and on welfare. At 34, I have an MBA and 12 years in tech. I’m working on my dream, a world where tech is created and led by our population’s diversity, as an operator and investorMost recently I invested in Operator Collective, a fund whose LPs are 90% women and 40% people of color.

This year, I’m putting my money and time where my mouth is to make tech better for the many, not just the few. If you want to do the same, let me know. It will take all of us (underestimated and allies) to roll-up our sleeves to leave tech better than it is. To quote the values of my former fund, Backstage Capital, “it takes a village” that believes in “success for all” because “diversity is strength.”

What I’ll be doing for DEI in 2020

I’ll use my superpower in connecting people and resources to achieve results for all (thanks to Eric, my executive coach, for helping me identify my magic sauce!). I’m connecting founders/funders to capital (and vice versa), and talent to job opportunities. Without further ado, here’s what I plan to focus on, how I’m going to do it, and how I’d love for you to join in:

1. Increase underestimated tech talent

  • Email me at ltaub@catalyte.io with software developer requests.
  • Look through job postings or take our assessment here for a chance to be invited for a free five-month training course, that if completed successfully, will be accompanied by a guaranteed job offer.
  • To hire me to speak, contact my speaking agent ricky@gravityspeakers.com.

Note: Catalyte prides itself in producing diverse tech talent. Current demographic stats on our developer community includes 36% minority developers and 3x more black developers than average Silicon Valley companies.

2. Increase dollars going into underestimated tech founders

Venture Partner at NextGen Venture Partners, and a Scout at Indie.vc, where I’m working to increase the number of dollars going to underestimated founders.

Notes: NextGen Venture Partners funds early-stage enterprise companies, among others, and has recently launched NextGen Align which is focused on social inclusion companies. Indie.VC investment strategy has led them to more diversity — 50/50 female to male founder-led company ratio and 20%+ underrepresented founders.

3. Increase dollars going into companies addressing underserved communities

I’m angel investing with my husband, Josh Taub, CAS member with 17 years in the insurance industry, in insurtech startups that serve underserved communities.

  • To have your company reviewed for investment consideration submit your company here.
  • To refer companies, email me at lolita.taub@gmail.com.
  • If you would like to co-invest, please leave me your details here.
  • To hire me to speak, contact my speaking agent ricky@gravityspeakers.com.

Note: Josh and I are currently in due-diligence and hope to write our first insurtech investment by the end of January.

That’s it. I’m focused on increasing underestimated tech talent, dollars going into underestimated tech founders, and dollars going into companies addressing underserved communities. Join me in the mission to make tech diverse, equitable and inclusive in 2020, request support on your journey or just keep me accountable.

For those of you who just want to be kept in the loop of developments, I will share insights on the journey, results and more on Twitter and in The Lodown newsletter.


About: Lolita Taub is the Chief of Staff at Catalyte, a 2x TEDx speaker and an AI enthusiast, with a venture capital and enterprise tech background. She is also Scout at Indie.vc, an investor at NexGen Venture Partners, an LP at Operator Collective and Portfolia’s Enterprise Fund; and a former VC at Backstage Capital and K Fund. Lolita holds over a decade of enterprise B2B software, hardware, and services sales experience at IBM, Cisco Systems and in Silicon Valley. She has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the IE Business School. Lolita has been recognized for her work on Forbes, Inc.com, The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com among other publications.


This post was originally published on Jan 12th, 2019, on Medium.

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Lolita Taub
Lolita Taub

Lolita Taub is the Chief of Staff at Catalyte. She is also currently a Venture Partner at NextGen Ventures, an LP at Portfolia’s Enterprise Fund and a former VC at Backstage Capital and K Fund

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