Study: Tech Companies Founded By Men Rarely Hire Women

Tech’s lack of diversity can easily show up in the products companies build and their programming. If you need an example, consider the study of self-driving cars possibly not being able to recognize darker-skin. When you only have one group of people building an app or algorithm, it’s going to have glaring gaps.

In an ideal world, tech would be diverse and those problems would go away — right? According to a study conducted by Stellares, the make up of a company’s founders says a lot about how it’ll grow.

For their study, Stellares took data from 13,000 companies. One thing they found was that male tech founders rarely hire women. When all the founders of a company are male, fewer than a fifth of leadership (which they define as vice president and above) are female. If the founders are women, then that flips to leadership that’s about 50 percent male.

None of that influences racial diversity. In their blog post, Stellares wrote, “When we looked in the data, the proportion of female founders did not significantly influence the proportion of racial/ethnic diversity in the leadership of the company.”

There are some questions raised here about how Stellares is defining “diversity.” Since data isn’t broken down by race (like white female founders compared to Black female founders), there’s no way to tell how that statement holds up across the board.

The study found what impacts racial diversity the most in a company is who’s in human resources. If a company’s HR department has more people of color, then racial diversity across the company — from leadership to everywhere else — increased.

This study may not come as a total surprise to a lot of people, but it helps combat a dangerous idea that companies naturally diversify as they grow.

“It’s very typical in Silicon Valley to say something like, ‘When you’re very small, there’s so many things to deal with, you can’t really take care of diversity, you can do it later,’” Roi Chobadi, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Stellares, told Bloomberg. “What we saw is that it doesn’t come later.”

Perhaps, the tech industry needs a little less talking and more “doing,” now more than later.

Study Shows Tech Workers are Still Willing to Work For Big Companies Despite Scandals

Lack of diversity, discrimination, and pay gaps have been ongoing topics in the tech industry, and major spotlights have been put on big companies like Facebook and Google.

Despite data and privacy scandals, being called out for its dismal diversity by a former manager, Facebook’s time in the news has not stopped people from wanting to work with there.

According to a report by Indeed, 59 percent of tech workers aren’t discouraged by the scandals in the tech industry and are still willing to work for companies embroiled in scandals, Forbes reported.

In fact, 34 percent of Indeed’s 1000 respondents said that scandals make the industry more interesting. This can possibly be attributed to workers who want to solve big tech issues from the inside. It could also mean that the time, money and training it takes to enter the field are more important to some workers than staying away from a company experiencing controversy.

According to the study, men don’t mind working for scandal ridden companies, because they believe they can solve issues from the inside. But 33 percent of people surveyed were less interested in working for companies mired in controversy.

So, tech workers aren’t turning a blind eye to scandals within Facebook, Amazon, and Google — they are just choosing their battles. For respondents who worked at companies that have been impacted by scandals, 74 percent of people said that they did not consider leaving their jobs because of the negative press.

On the plus side, recent tech scandals have made workers more open to reporting misconduct in the workplace. According to the report, nearly 50 percent of workers are more willing to report issues and 79 percent are willing to stay at their jobs if their companies are more transparent about mistakes.

Indeed’s report comes as The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection Subcommittee holds a hearing on the tech industry’s diversity and inclusion problem. It is unclear if the report looked at responses from underrepresented groups. AfroTech has reached out to Indeed for the full report.

Internal Analysis Reveals Google Actually Pays Some Men Less Than Women

In a surprising twist, Google’s 2018 equity-wage analysis revealed the company is paying men less than women for the same job.

According to TechCrunch, Google realized male-identified Level 4 Software Engineers were receiving less money than women working the same position. As a result, Google announced it paid $9.7 million in adjustments to 10,677 workers.

This is surprising because Google historically struggled with paying women fairly. In 2017, there was a class-action lawsuit alleging the company systematically underpaid women in comparison to men.

In the same year, Google ended up paying $270,000 to close wage gaps for 228 employees that worked in six different job groups. According to TechCrunch, the group included women and men from different countries, along with Black and Latinx employees in the United States.

Google workforce is currently 69 percent male and 31 percent female, according to its annual diversity report. In leadership roles, those numbers quickly widen, as 74.5 percent are male and 25.5 percent are female.

“Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location, and performance. But we know that’s only part of the story,” Google shared in its blog post. “Because leveling, performance ratings, and promotion impact pay, this year, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes to make sure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all employees.”

Even with Google’s recent pay analysis, there are still fundamental inequities the company needs to tackle.

Diversity and Inclusion Tech Market Reaches $100M, Study Finds

Researchers looking at the global market for diversity and inclusion technology predict new software has the potential to disrupt patterns of bias and drive organizational change.

“After years of spending time and money on diversity and inclusion, there is a palpable feeling of fatigue: the representation of historically underrepresented employees has not changed commensurate with those efforts and many organizations are still far from reaching their goals,” researchers wrote in the report.

The report identified 105 diversity and inclusion tech firms and found the market size is roughly $100 million and growing. Forty-three percent of providers focus on software used in talent acquisition and management. Twenty-six percent of the market is geared toward analytics, followed by development and advancement (19%), and engagement and retention (12%).

“We know that companies are renewing their focus on D&I,” said Stacia Garr, co-founder and principal analyst of RedThread Research in a press release. “As a result, we’ve seen a flood of new entrants into this market sector. There is very little insight, however, into who they are or what they are offering. We wanted to understand who the players are, exactly what problems they are trying to solve, and how successful they have been, both financially and in the eyes of their customers.”

Seventy-four percent of diversity and inclusion tech vendors surveyed are small companies with fewer than 50 employees and 60 percent are less than four years old, the report found. Their customer base is primarily found in the finance/banking, technology, and professional services industries.

“Diversity and inclusion has long been a priority for many of our clients and other organizations,” said Carole Jackson, co-author of the report and Senior Principal in Mercer’s Diversity & Inclusion consulting practice. “It wasn’t always a top ‘business priority’ for CEOs. It was often considered ‘the right thing to do’ and with that came nominal budgets and superficial support from leaders.”

Diversity and inclusion across the tech industry is well-documented as companies make small strides towards progress. 

“With more and more research demonstrating a direct link between greater diversity and improved business results, CEOs are putting real budgets in place to eliminate bias, ensuring equity in all talent processes, and demanding inclusive working environments,” Jackson said. “This is proving to be the fuel for change and creating space for these technologies to grow.”

 

Uber Partners With Bay Area Tech Training Programs

Uber has partnered with several organizations in San Francisco to help increase access to high-quality jobs.

The ride-sharing giant–announced in a blog post–its plans to commit $100,000 to nonprofits <dev/Mission>, Code Tenderloin, and Opportunities for All in an effort to train the next generation of technologists.

In addition to the donation, the company will provide office space and offer volunteer time for employees to work with students on coding and interview skills.

“The donations build on long-standing relationships we’ve established with each of these groups that date back to their founding days,” the company said.

<dev/Mission> will use the grant to add 30 students and 10 new internships to the program. Code Tenderloin will add over 50 students to its Job Readiness Class and Coding program, which teaches students how to build a resume and prepares them to interview.

Opportunities for All, an initiative led by San Francisco Mayor London Breed to expand access to youth employment, will bring additional interns into their program.

/dev/color Is Bringing In Its Largest Cohort of Black Engineers Ever

Tech nonprofit /dev/color just announced the induction of the largest “Squad” of Black engineers into their community, growing its membership from 225 to 370. They have also unveiled plans to operate cohorts in two new cities this year.

/dev/color convenes a visible force of Black software engineers to uplift and empower one another within the overwhelmingly white tech industry. Nearly four years old, the organization began with just 11 members in San Francisco, and now has chapters in Atlanta, Seattle, and New York City.

Their flagship A* program offers professional engineers a year-long membership including monthly meetings with peer groups (called “Squads”), access to exclusive events, and tools to design an individualized career roadmap.

“It’s rare for folks to take retention into their own hands,” said Lajuanda Asemota, Interim Executive Director of /dev/color. “It’s not just learning and development opportunities that keep people at companies and in the industry. It’s also their sense of belonging and sense of confidence.”

The conversations around tech diversity often centers the acknowledgment that the industry is made up of nearly 8 percent Black workers and recruitment strategies (or lack thereof) have failed to address this gross underrepresentation, though numerous organizations are working to remedy these faults.

Changing the narrative around diversity, equity, and inclusion is part of /dev/color’s work to ensure these connections exist beyond this organization.

The nonprofit reports that as a result of its A* Program, over 70 percent of members received an increase in compensation in 2017. Of that, 34 percent received a salary increase of 15 percent or more. 

“We’re contributing to intergenerational wealth and community growth,” said Asemota. “Folks are able to achieve their goals and grow their careers.”

Black tech workers are the lowest paid in the tech sector, according to a 2018 report from Hired. Across the industry, Black employees are paid the least at $130,000, an average of $6,000 less than their white counterparts.

The Women in the Workplace 2018 study published by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company found that Black women are asking for promotions and raises at the same rate as their white counterparts, but are not getting the same outcomes.

“The diversity in tech conversation has gotten a little bit repetitive,” said Asemota. “I’m really hopeful that people will capitalize on the history of the work, and really think critically about how to do things creatively that will actually have an impact.”

Techstars’ Startup Weekend in New York Will Focus On Diverse Talent

Accelerator program Techstars is bringing underrepresented tech talent together for a weekend of brainstorming and prototyping in New York City.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a 54-hour long event for participants of diverse backgrounds to form teams and pitch new business ideas to a panel of judges from the startup and VC industry.

Startup Weekend organizers are using the weekend to create a space for women and minority innovators to access resources in the startup world. Through targeting this underrepresented audience, Techstars hopes to address the gaps in funding and opportunity in tech.

“Once we bring everyone together and they get to work, we have no doubt that the outcome will be a display of capable and qualified entrepreneurs of all types– with ideas that can shape tomorrow,” they wrote on the event site.

Last month, the accelerator announced its partnership with digitalundivided—an entrepreneurship incubator for Black and Latinx women founders—to increase support for women entrepreneurs.

Digitalundivided’s groundbreaking ProjectDiane2018 report shows Black women-led startups have raised $289 million in venture capital funding since 2009, while Latinx-owned startups led by women raised a total of $1.36 billion in venture capital funding.

This accounts for .0006 percent and 0.32 percent of the $424.7 billion in total venture funding raised since 2009.

Startup Weekend will feature speakers like Jason Leder, Head of VC & Startup Partnerships at Google and Marcia Mitchell Partner Operations Manager at ff Venture Capital. Participants will also work alongside mentors to help develop ideas.

First place teams will have an opportunity to be interviewed for a series on Entrepreneur.com.

Get full event details and purchase a ticket to claim your spot.

This Founder is Building a Community for Black Women to Thrive at Work

Millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa make the dangerous and arduous trek to the wells each day, sometimes walking an average of 3.7 miles to access clean and safe water for their families. The powerful idea of women from different tribes banding together to accomplish a goal inspired entrepreneur Krystal Scott to launch a space for professional Black women to connect.

The Well Space launched on International Women’s Day in March 2018 and aims to provide an authentic network of career-driven Black women based on genuine relationship building.

After nearly a year of building the community from scratch, The Well has just reopened the waitlist for women to apply to join the Tribe and launched a new website along with the rollout of new member benefits.

“A lot of what we need to advance in our career can be gotten from our relationship with other people,” said Scott, founder, and CEO of The Well. “It’s really important for Black women to remember that we are a tribe. We are a community.”

The community-based platform will now allow each of its members to create and maintain their own profile on the website with the ability to directly message others. Members will also have access to a directory of The Well members by location and industry.

Other perks include a program featuring discounts and freebies from Black-women-owned brands and a 12-week mentorship program.

“When I first launched, I was thinking about The Well being a coworking space,” recalled Scott. “But, I didn’t want the community to be limited to just a physical space.”

“We’re building that infrastructure as a community for women to meet in an intentional way,” she added.

Since its launch, The Well has hosted a number of networking events in New York City. From happy hours at Ode to Babel–a Black-woman owned bar and lounge in Brooklyn–to Karaoke nights for members. Scott said the focus is on social ways for Black women to meet.

The platform, currently in beta, has just under 200 members across the United States, Spain, and Canada.  The community connects virtually during video meetups, and collaborate daily via email and group messaging. 

Scott—who has a background in public policy and non-profits—sought to create an environment for Black women to thrive at work after her own journey navigating the workforce and finding that she was often the only Black woman in the room.

“It’s really hard to talk to someone who isn’t a Black woman about things that are happening at work because you’re a Black woman,” she said. “There is a shared experience that Black women have in the workplace.”

The recent Women in the Workplace 2018 study published by LeanIn.org and McKinsey & Company found nearly half of women of color are often the “onlys” of their race at work and over 80 percent face microaggressions.

Despite efforts to improve diversity, the study found women of color only make up 17 percent of entry-level employees and 4 percent of C-suite executives.

Black women are 40 percent less likely than men to receive the first promotion to manager, reflecting the largely stagnant progress for the advancement of women in the workplace overall.

“We’re underrepresented in the workplace because we’re undervalued,” Scott said noting Black women need more support as entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and in terms of being paid.

Black women were on average paid 61 percent of what white men were paid in 2017, according to Census data. Black women’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent—the highest among women from all of the largest racial and ethnic groups—yet, the gap persists.

Despite the Women in the Workplace study finding stating that more Black and Latina women are requesting promotions and raises at the same rate as their white counterparts, they don’t get the same outcomes.

As the conversation around equity in the workplace wages on, Scott says she and her team are ready to expand programming and continue to provide the space for Black women to support and help each other get across the finish line.

“Black women enjoy each other’s company,” said Scott. “We understand each other in a way that’s really beautiful and really powerful.”

Photo credit: Nneka Peters

CTA Announces $10 Million Fund for Women and Diverse Founders

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has announced that it will invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of color and other underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs.

CTA’s multi-million dollar fund targets the disproportionate amount of venture capital that women and minority-led companies receive. In 2017, women received nearly 2.2 percent of the available venture capital funding which totaled $85 billion.

“To continue to evolve and grow, the tech industry needs more equal access to venture funding,” said CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro in a press release. “Various research reports indicate diverse teams make better decisions and achieve greater profits. At CTA, this is one more tool we are deploying to help promote diversity in the technology industry.”

CTA has previously been criticized for having gender-bias and a lack of diversity at its events.

Lora DiCarlo, a women-focused company, was supposed to receive an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but the CTA, stripped the company of its award after determining the company’s Osé robot did not fit into any of the award’s product categories.

Although it is unclear whether or not the fund is in response to the controversy, Lora DiCarlo Founder and CEO, Lora Haddock, called out the event for allowing robot sex dolls and virtual reality porn showcases on the floor of the show.  However, Lora DiCarlo is still prohibited from presenting on the floor of CES this year.

“CES and the CTA have a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards – much like the tech industry as a whole,” Haddock said in a post. “From the exclusion of female founders and executives to the lack of female-focused products allowed to exhibit on the floor – there are demonstrable issues with diversity.”

AfroTech has reached out to CTA for comment.

 

CES Revokes Innovation Award For A Sex Tech, Women’s Health Startup

Lora DiCarlo, a women-focused sex-tech company, was supposed to receive an innovation award at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), stripped the company of its award after determining that the company’s Osé robot did not fit into any of the award’s product categories.

Lora DiCarlo’s Osé is a hands-free, micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers. 

“The product referenced does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program,” Samantha Doherty, CTA spokeswoman said. “CES does not have a category for sex toys. CTA had communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo nearly two months ago and we have apologized to them for our mistake.”

The CTA also cited its rules stating, “Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.”

Lora DiCarlo has also been prohibited from presenting on the floor of CES. In past conventions, robot sex dolls and virtual reality porn showcases have been acceptable enough to present at CES.

“Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR porn in point of pride along the aisle,” Lora Haddock, founder and CEO of Lora DiCarlo, said in a post on the company’s website. “Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outrighted banned. You cannot pretend to be unbiased if you allow a sex robot for men but not a vagina-focused robotic massager for blended orgasm.”

Haddock called it “insulting and ridiculous” that her company’s biomimicry device was ineligible for the Robotics and Drone category.