The National Venture Capital Association, Dow Jones VentureSource and CrunchBase are partnering to help drive diversity among the entrepreneurial industry – and they want all interested entrepreneurs to participate.

The three partners want to gather data from entrepreneurs to measure what’s happening demographically in the startup ecosystem, they say.

The effort is described as the “first step toward developing solutions to increase inclusiveness.”

The NVCA’s own Diversity Task Force has a strong Triangle connection: Art Pappas, managing director of Pappas Ventures in Durham, is a member.

Each of the three partnering organizations brings star power to the effort.

  • The NVCA is the dominate trade group for venture capitalists and also publishes quartertly investment data about startups and VCs.
  • Dow Jones VentureSource is one of the leading news sources for the venture industry.
  • CrunchBase, which originally launched as part of TechCrunch, gathers data on startups.

The initial data-gathering effort is being called the 2015 Venture Census. it is part of the recently created NVCA Diversity Task Force.

The venture industry has taken a great deal of criticism for the lack of diversity in its own ranks with few women and minorities being employed as venture partners.

“Collaboration and research are top priorities of the NVCA Diversity Task Force as we develop solutions that support the advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in the startup ecosystem,” said Ashton Newhall, Managing General Partner of Greenspring Associates, co-chair of the NVCA Diversity Task Force and Research Team. “Today, we are launching the Venture Census in order to assess the level of diversity across startups, venture capital firms, accelerators and others supporting innovation. We believe we need a better understanding of our history and our present before we can affect the future. It is my hope that this data collection effort establishes a baseline which we can improve upon for many years to come.”

Susan Keeler, Global Product Manager, Dow Jones VentureSource, added: “Adding this new census data alongside the vast financial data we gather for VentureSource will help in analyzing the characteristics of successful VCs and entrepreneurs and will guide investors to make better investment decisions.”

Noted Matt Kaufman, president of CrunchBase: “We are excited to partner with the NVCA on benchmarking diversity in the startup ecosystem. We believe making data accessible to the entrepreneurial community accelerates innovation and raising awareness about diversity is an important part of our efforts.”

The survey hopefully will provide information about “the current level of diversity within venture capital, startup companies and organizations that shape the growth of startups.”

The goal of the program is “to assess the individual characteristics of persons employed in the startup ecosystem and the characteristics of their firms or companies. Survey question focus on gender, age, sexual orientation, educational and professional background, military experience, firm size, industry, geographic focus and location.”

The partners say that all submissions will be “anonymous” and will be reported in aggregate.

Survey results are to be published this fall.

For more information, visit:

Diversity task force

Members of NVCA’s Diversity Task Force include:

  • Kate Mitchell (Co-Chair), Founder and General Partner at Scale Venture Partners
  • Ashton Newhall (Co-Chair), Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Greenspring Associates
  • Jon Callaghan, Founder and General Partner at True Ventures and Chairman of the NVCA Board of Directors
  • Maria Cirino, Co-Founder and Managing Director at .406 Ventures
  • Venky Ganesan, Managing Director at Menlo Ventures
  • Scott Kupor, Managing Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
  • Ray Leach, CEO at JumpStart Inc.
  • Terry McGuire, Co-Founder and General Partner at Polaris Partners
  • Art Pappas, Managing Partner at Pappas Ventures
  • Scott Sandell, General Partner at New Enterprise Associates
  • Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures