You kind of wrote the book on entrepreneurship.
I mentioned it earlier on, it’s a book that still resonates today.
Did you write that with any particular audience in mind?
Or is that just for all entrepreneurs?
I wrote it for all entrepreneurs.
And I’ll tell you a quick, interesting story.
When I went to publishers, a lot of the publishers that reached the general market said, “Kevin, we think you should change the title of your book.”
I said, “Oh, here it comes.”
And they said, “Kevin, we think it should be, The Black Entrepreneur.”
And that was very discouraging because I think the lessons are universal.
And ironically, I think it’s become a bestseller and continues to do well because it resonates with everybody and those lessons are universal.
Jo, let me ask you a little bit, as you looked more broadly at the sort of VC community, how diverse is it?
Is it just a small group of people that are making all these decisions?
Or is it becoming more diverse?
Or are VC firms thinking about this in an active way and taking action?
I would say that all firms are thinking about this because the data show very clearly that having a more diverse partnership leads to better investment outcomes.
Again, just citing some work from HBS professor Paul Gompers, both on terms of internal return rates and success rates, more diverse partnerships produce better outcomes.
But the challenge is that this is an industry slow to change because of structural reasons.
Most people don’t realize this but most venture firms are owned by one or two people, the founders of the firm.
And the legal entity that owns the firm is an LLC and these LLC structures are unique, because there are no boards of directors.
There is no independent group that tells the venture firm, “It’s ridiculous that less 1% of investors are Black.” My gosh.
Two my students, Devon Sanford and Richard Petty wrote a great research paper showing that the percentage of women in venture capital and private equity has been going down over 30 years.
我的两名学生，德文·桑福德(Devon Sanford)和理查德·佩蒂(Richard Petty)写了一篇很棒的研究论文，显示女性在风险投资和私募股权投资领域的比例在过去30年里一直在下降
And so it’s a structural issue.
Everyone has good intentions but things just have not changed as quickly as I think people in the industry want.
And I think it’s an opportunity for self reflection for investors.
And I would say it’s interesting because if you look at established companies, they have boards of directors, they have customers who are putting the heat on them to take a careful look at this but the investors are sort of behind the curtain.
They’re not being held accountable in the same way. It sounds like that’s what you’re saying.
Right. And this structure by the way, is used in all private capital firms.
This is how hedge funds are structured. VC firms, PE firms, these are the LLCs that own the firms and so this is a struggle that private capital in general has to deal with because again, diversity increases returns but the rank and file of people making the decisions are very few.
A friend of mine is Elliott Robinson, he’s a guest speaker in my class, from Bessemer Venture Partners.
我的一个朋友是埃利奥特·罗宾逊，他是我们班上的特邀演讲人，来自贝塞默风险投资伙伴公司(Bessemer Venture Partners)
Guess how many Black partners there are at the top larger firms in the US? Four. That’s it.