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Tech Startup Founders Value Workplace Diversity

Sep 12, 2016 Hear what experts have to say on what you should be doing to protect your money.

Founders and executives in technology companies believe that building diversity is important, yet not everyone puts inclusion in the forefront during the early stages of their startup, a new survey from Techstars and Chase for Business finds.

Data shows companies with high levels of cultural and gender diversity have a better chance of receiving above average financial returns than companies that lack diversity1, so it’s no surprise that nearly three in four (72 percent) tech entrepreneurs say that building diversity in their company is extremely or very important. However, according to the “Tech Startups: Diversity & Inclusion Survey,” only 12 percent of tech entrepreneurs are actually “Diversity Leaders,” defined as having five or more tech employees who are women or racial or ethnic minorities.

"The Techstars study validates our belief that diversity in the workplace, no matter a company’s size, delivers tangible value to the business and to the community."

Janis Bowdler, head of small business initiatives for for Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Other highlights from the research include:

  • 81 percent of all founders say diversity enhances creativity and innovation
  • 67 percent of all founders say that diversity improves problem solving
  • 63 percent of all founders say that a diverse workforce provides greater access to talent
  • 23 percent of founders said that a diverse workforce improves financial performance
  • 92 percent of founders are familiar with the term “unconscious bias,” but only 45 percent are taking steps to reduce unconscious bias

“Many tech startup founders are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workforce, but don't know what actions to take,” said Nicole Glaros, chief product officer for Techstars. “Our research shows what actions diversity pioneers are taking, and how other entrepreneurs can replicate these actions to benefit from the perspectives that a diverse workforce can bring.”

Startup founders can become diversity leaders

While the survey of nearly 700 global tech founders and executives provided insight on how tech entrepreneurs are tackling the issue of diversity in tech, “Tech Startups: Diversity & Inclusion” also identifies the steps that founders of tech startups can take to increase the diversity of their teams.

As more tech companies continue to publically prioritize diversity, it’s important for tech startups to play an active role in building inclusive teams. To attract and retain women and minorities in technical positions, founders can take action in four areas:

  • Hiring practices
  • Employee benefits
  • Management practices

Tech startups can find resources to move from the planning stage to become leaders in improving tech diversity from Techstars new toolkit. To learn more about the research and how to become a tech startup diversity leader, visit techstars.com/bealeader.

2015 study from McKinsey & Company


About the survey
Techstars and Chase commissioned Lawless Research to design and conduct a study to identify the factors that increase staff diversity in tech startups worldwide. A total of 680 founders and executives in tech companies founded in the past seven years completed the 12-minute online survey from June 14 through July 4, 2016. The survey was hosted by Qualtrics and respondents were recruited via email and social media sites by Techstars, F6S, Global Entrepreneurship Network, and Compass. Tests of significant differences were conducted at the .01 level (99% probability that the difference is real, not by chance). Percentages may not always add up to 100% due to rounding.

About Techstars
Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of startup programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and Do More Faster™. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond. Visit Techstars.com.


Media Contact

Ashley Frost, Ashley.C.Frost@jpmorgan.com