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Principal @ Rizoma Ventures. ESG & impact investor and operator. Venture Partner @NextGenVP & Republic.co. Founding contributor @ Startup and Society Initiative

There are so many projects languishing on the side of startup operators’ desks. Important-but-perhaps-not-urgent projects. Projects that aren’t being pushed by investors and whose success may be hard to measure. I’m thinking of the hiring manager who wants to make their interview process fair and equitable; the recruiter who wants to build relationships to new talent sources ahead of a hiring spree; the designer concerned about making a website ADA-compliant. They can envision their desired outcome but haven’t yet gotten founder buy-in, or haven’t had the time plan or execute on the project. …


Chapter 3: Internal Initiatives

Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Note: We use “DEI” as shorthand for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging.

Written by Claire Veuthey and Stoddard Meigs, part of the Grassroots Diversity Advocates group. This is Chapter 3 of a larger playbook that is still a work in progress. Here are Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. We welcome feedback, comments, and suggestions for improvement. Please send them to cveuthey@gmail.com and stoddard.meigs@gmail.com.

Introduction

Bad organizational DEI is due to a combination of individual actions and institutional processes. If you want to improve your organization, you have to change both its people’s behavior and its processes.

In Chapter 1, we distinguished…


Practical ESG and impact solutions for investors who are just ahead of the market

Photo by Ruth Enyedi on Unsplash

By now SRI/ESG/impact investing has been around a long time (yes, really.) Assets managed against ESG/impact mandates have grown at 14% CAGR since 1995. In 2020, US-domiciled ESG assets were estimated at $17 Trillion, or ⅓ of all managed assets. Ladies and gentlemen, we are past the tipping point.


Photo by Alexander Abero on Unsplash

When I started my career working at Innovest Strategic Value Advisors (now part of MSCI ESG,) I thought I’d forever work in a small, bright, ethical corner of finance. So much for “small”: the field has ballooned since I joined in 2008: ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) index funds hit $250 billion this year, or 20% of the US market.

ESG is no longer niche

For decades, the narrative has been that a profit-first mentality has stifled solutions to systemic problems. Increasingly, though, companies that fail to plan for a sustainable future are seen as a risky proposition. …


As noted in my first post, fintechs have rushed to fill in the gap between consumer expectations of banking and the often sad reality of banking. But what is banking, exactly? In this post I look at the overall market for consumer banking services, disaggregate the bank stack, and analyze the opportunities for fintechs in each layer of the stack.

The opportunity

We know that customers — and millennials especially — are hungry for banks that serve them better. …


Consumer expectations of banking have changed a lot — but traditional banks haven’t. Fintechs have rushed to fill in the gap. Big Tech has also tip-toed into offering services previously considered part of ‘banking,’ such as consumer credit, money transfers, and payments. Is this staid industry finally getting a tech-fueled comeuppance? Or will regulations designed for the past give legacy banks time to fight back?

Banking has changed; banks have not

Our idea of what a bank does, and who can do what a bank does, has expanded dramatically. Banking has surreptitiously gotten an upgrade, via services we used to…


Chapter 1: Getting Started

Four colleagues gather with tablets for a meeting.
image from Jopwell Latinx Photo Collection, Vol I.

This is Chapter 1 of a larger playbook (in progress) for those seeking to do DEI work at early-stage startups.

In Chapter 1, we cover:

  • Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging (we use DEI as shorthand for these terms through out the chapter)
  • A few arguments for DEI efforts: the ethical imperative, and the business case
  • Getting started, with either top-down or bottom-up approaches

I. Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

Diversity — a measurable fact

There is no single definition of what a diverse organization’s demographic representation should be.

It’s useful to think about whether or not your organization is appropriately diverse in terms of what makes sense for the organization’s function…

Claire Veuthey

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