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The Diversity Riders podcast peels back the layers on the Diversity Rider initiative and its call to action to expand access and generational wealth opportunities to diverse check writers in the tech industry. Hosted by the movement’s creator and leader, Alejandro Guerrero of Act One Ventures, the first season features conversations with influential tech industry leaders who have been using the rider’s language in their standard Term Sheets or who have been influenced by its call to action to diversify cap tables and create a more equitable future for underrepresented investors and founders.
6: Richie Serna, Co-Founder & CEO, Finix
Richie Serna is the Co-Founder & CEO of Finix, a San Francisco based payments infrastructure company that gives SaaS businesses the ability to own, manage, and monetize their payments in-house. Since co-founding his company in 2015, Richie has gone on to raise over $100 million from some of the top firms in Silicon Valley and has undoubtedly become one of tech's most highly visible Latinx CEOs. A first-generation Mexican-American with humble roots stemming from Santa Ana, CA, Richie is a shining beacon of success for the Latinx community in America and beyond. In our final episode of Season 1, Richie goes deep to his roots growing up in Santa Ana, his experiences of enduring racism as a young man, and the difficult lessons he went through during the process of building Finix as a true Silicon Valley outsider. Those experiences and learnings came to a head in the Summer of 2020 with the murder of George Floyd. Finding inspiration with his friend and Seed investor Alejandro Guerrero’s Diversity Rider, Richie explains how he used his platform, power and influence as a co-founder of a “hot” Silicon Valley company to bring 80 Black and Latinx individuals as co-investors into his Series B extension for the purpose of access, attribution and generational wealth.
5: Dan Levitan, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Maveron
Dan Levitan is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Maveron, a consumer focused venture capital firm based in Seattle. Dan founded Maveron in 1998 together with Howard Schultz, the former Chairman & CEO of Starbucks when they noticed a gap in the VC market for high growth consumer businesses. Now on his 7th fund, Maveron manages $1.3 billion in assets under management. In this episode Dan shares personal thoughts on the evolution of venture capital and fund sizes, how the dynamics of VC and networks are transforming, and why capitalism as it has been practiced needs to be changed and refined. He walks through the thought process of how Maveron’s partnership asked important and tough questions as to how they were going to fulfill the commitment of the Diversity Rider, knowing that it was the “right thing to do'' because the moment for redefining “access” in VC had truly arrived.
4: Dave Young, Partner, Cooley LLP
Dave Young is a Partner at Cooley LLP, a preeminent law firm headquartered in Silicon Valley with 5+ decades of experience in Venture Capital and one of the legal market leaders in the entire VC space. Dave has been a tech lawyer for over 25 years where his practice has consistently been representing venture backed companies and their inventors. He founded the Santa Monica office for Cooley in 2012 and has since grown it to over 60 employees, while gaining a reputation as one of the top law tech lawyers in the Los Angeles tech and venture capital ecosystem. Dave was instrumental as an advisor in the evolution of the actual language that ultimately became the Diversity Rider. In this episode of the Diversity Riders Podcast, Dave shares the insight of how lawyers and executives across Cooley came together in the Summer of 2020 to discuss and formally include the Diversity Rider in their internal term sheet generator for all their clients, and also their external term sheet generator for the general public at Cooley GO.
3: John China, President, SVB Capital
John China is the President of Silicon Valley Bank (“SVB”) Capital where he leads a dual LP and direct investment strategy, managing $6.4 billion in assets under management. He and SVB Capital are LPs in the top 15 funds in all of venture, giving him an unmatched view of the workings and thought process of the top funds regarding diversity in venture capital and tech. He is a first generation Mexican-American who attended Stanford and is the highest ranking person-of-color executive on the entire SVB executive team. In this episode John gives us the story of how the top firms in SVB Capital’s venture portfolio did not have positive reactions to the Diversity Rider and his belief as to why they are not incentivized to change in the short term. However, since founders are now embracing diversity, the top firms will need to change to keep winning the best founders. John believes that the way venture capital is practiced today is no longer sustainable and that even though LPs “don’t like change” they see it coming with diversity being the mainstream. John shares a specific effort by Theresia Gouw of Acrew Capital to get diverse LPs into her new fund, and why LPs who are investing in diverse fund managers who haven’t had access to capital should stop apologizing for doing the right thing.
2: Dana Settle, Founding Partner, Greycroft
Dana Settle is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Greycroft, an early and growth stage venture capital firm with over $2 billion in assets under management based in Los Angeles and New York City. Dana has been a venture capitalist for over 20 years and is unequivocally one of the top women venture investors. She started her venture capital career at Mayfield in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s before heading to Harvard Business School and eventually Los Angeles. In 2006 she raised her first fund of $75mm together with her co-founders Alan Patricof and Ian Sigalow under the name Greycroft. In our second episode of the Diversity Riders Podcast, Dana shares the story of her reaction upon hearing about the Diversity Rider concept and the influence it could have. Quickly believing that the Rider’s call to action would diversify their deals and network, Dana walks us through the journey of how she tested this “hypothesis” with her partners, employees, extended network, and founders. Dana shares how the Rider tied into Greycroft’s existing work to expand diversity on boards, and she also discusses Whitney Wolfe Herd, the Founder & CEO of Bumble (a Greycroft portfolio company), and how Whitney and leaders like her are recognizing their unique positions to drive real change by providing access and opportunities to underrepresented investors and third party vendors.
Charles Hudson is the Founder & Managing Partner of Precursor Ventures, a seed and pre seed venture capital fund based in San Francisco with nearly $100 million in assets under management. Prior to launching Precursor, Charles was an investor at Uncork Capital, and was the co-founder of Bionic Panda Games. He is a two time graduate of Stanford University, and is a guest lecturing professor at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business where he teaches Entrepreneurship from Diverse Perspectives. In our first episode of the Diversity Riders podcast, Charles shares his story as one of the first venture capitalists to sign on to the Diversity Rider initiative, which was launched in the Summer of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent racial awakening in America. He explains why he did it, his perspective on why it works so well, and how the Diversity Rider is making an impact on him and his firm. We also discuss the topics of race and gender in venture capital today from the perspective of one of the most prominent Black investors in the entire investing game.
Welcome to the Diversity Riders Podcast
This is the official trailer to season one of the Diversity Riders Podcast. Please subscribe, like, and share on your favorite podcast platforms.