Diversity

Twilio is working toward a 50% female workforce by 2023

Diversity fatigue is a real thing, but that’s not news to Twilio Global Head of Culture & Inclusion LaFawn Davis. What that does mean for her, however, is less talk and more action. Since coming on board as Twilio’s diversity and inclusion leader about one and half years ago, Davis has been focused on creating a global approach, rather than one that is just U.S.-centric. That strategy is based on three pillars, Davis told TechCrunch. Those are having an equitable approach (i.e. hiring people without traditional backgrounds), equal promise (unbiased recruiting process, equal pay and promotion opportunities) and creating a sense of belonging. As part of that, Twilio is unveiling its first diversity report today and publicly setting a five-year goal to hit specific diversity t...

Uber’s complex relationship with diversity

Since Dara Khosrowshahi came to Uber as CEO about a year ago, there has certainly been less drama, but drama remains. Over the last few months, there were reports of Uber COO Barney Harford making insensitive comments about women and racial minorities, as well as Uber’s now-former Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey making denigrating comments toward Uber’s global diversity and inclusion lead Bernard Coleman and Bozoma Saint John, the chief brand officer who left in June. At TechCrunch Disrupt SF earlier this month, I sat down with both Khosrowshahi and Uber’s new, first-ever Chief Diversity Officer Bo Young Lee, who joined in March. Believe it or not, there are still bad actors at the company, so Uber still has work to do. What surprised me, however, was Khosrowshahi̵...

Twitch hires head of diversity and inclusion

Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform, has brought on its first head of diversity and inclusion, as well as a new chief financial officer and chief human resources officer. Katrina Jones, who will start next month as Twitch’s head of diversity and inclusion, is the former head of diversity at Vimeo. At Vimeo, Jones created the company’s diversity strategy, and worked on disrupting bias and fostering inclusion. Meanwhile, Michelle Weaver and Sudarshana Rangachary are coming on board as CFO and CHRO, respectively. From the diversity and inclusion front, Twitch has a history of struggling. The platform itself, for example, was called out in 2015 for being mostly white and male. Fast-forward to 2016, and Twitch hosted a panel at its annual convention dubbed “Diversify T...

The Xbox Adaptive Controller goes on sale today and is also now part of the V&A museum’s collection

In an important move for inclusion in the gaming community, the Xbox Adaptive Controller, created for gamers with mobility issues, is now on sale. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) also announced today that it has acquired the Xbox Adaptive Controller for display in its Rapid Response gallery dedicated to current events and pop culture. First introduced in May, the Xbox Adaptive Controller can now be purchased online for $99.99. To create the controller, Microsoft collaborated with gamers with disabilities and limited mobility, as well as partners from several organizations, including the AbleGamers Charity, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Special Effect and Warfighter Engaged. According to Microsoft, the Xbox Adaptive Controller project first took root in 2014 when one of its engine...

How Silicon Valley should celebrate Labor Day

Ask any 25-year old engineer what Labor Day means to him or her, and you might get an answer like: it’s the surprise three-day weekend after a summer of vacationing. Or it’s the day everyone barbecues at Dolores Park. Or it’s the annual Tahoe trip where everyone gets to relive college. Or simply, it’s the day we get off because we all work so hard. And while founders and employees in startup land certainly work hard, wearing their 80-hour workweeks as a badge of honor, closing deals on conference calls in an air-conditioned WeWork is a far cry from the backbreaking working conditions of the 1880s, the era when Labor Day was born. For everyone here in Silicon Valley, we should not be celebrating this holiday triumphantly over beers and hot dogs, complacent in the belief that our gravest lab...

Cleo Capital sets $10M target to fund female entrepreneurs

Sarah Kunst has filed to raise $10 million for her debut venture capital fund, Cleo Capital. According to Axios, the firm will give cash to female entrepreneurs who will act as scouts.  Scouts look for viable early-stage startups for firms to invest in and then receive a cut of the profits on the investments. Kunst, pictured above, is a scout for Sequoia; it’s unclear if that will change now that she’s running her own firm. She’s also the founder of ProDay, a fitness tech startup that had raised at least $500,000 from angel investors, including Arielle Zuckerberg, but folded earlier this year. We’ve reached out to Kunst for comment. Cleo isn’t the only female-focused fund with which Kunst is involved. She joined Bumble as a senior adviser in February, and earlier this month, the popular da...

23andMe’s ancestry tools are getting better for people of color

23andMe is beefing up its African, East Asian and Native American ancestry capabilities — something it has sorely lacked. Specifically, 23andMe has added 12 new regions across Africa and East Asia to its database. When I first tried 23andMe a few years ago, it told me I was 71 percent West African, which tells me next to nothing about which countries the bulk of my ancestry comes from. Well, that’s all changing — though, I already received the information from Ancestry — with 23andMe’s latest product update. “Key to this update is really the availability of more data from around the world, specifically in Africa and Asia,” 23andMe Senior Product Manager Robin Smith told TechCrunch. “It’s possible through certain initiatives, like the African Genetics Project and Global Genetics Project.” B...

Students and mentors: Apply for the all-new TC Include program at Disrupt SF with #BUILTBYGIRLS

We’re going all out for this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt SF (September 5-7), which means more fantastic content, more of the most influential startup and tech leaders and tons of networking. As such, we are expanding our TC Include program at Disrupt SF and partnering with #BUILTBYGIRLS to host an engaging day full of interactive programming for even more students who are interested in tech and entrepreneurship. In the past we’ve worked with organizations like BUILD.org, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), the Academy for Software Engineering, NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education, The Young Women’s Leadership Schools of the Bronx & Astoria, Red Hook Initiative, Mission Bit, The Urban Assembly Maker Academy and The Girls’ Network to bring small groups of students to Dis...

All Raise is bringing founders together to collaborate on diversity and inclusion

Founders for Change, an initiative from All Raise, is hosting its first-ever meetup for its group of founders focused on diversity and inclusion in tech. Since launching in March, Founders for Change has grown to more than 800 founders from companies like Pandora, Patreon, Shippo, PagerDuty, Udacity and others. “It’s one of those things where the movement really resonated with a number of founders,” Freestyle Capital Partner and AllRaise FfC co-lead Jenny Lefcourt told TechCrunch. “It was an online movement and everywhere for a period of time. People continued to sign up but it was just online. This is the beginning.” That’s to say that this is likely not the last meetup for founders. The aim of this particular meetup is to share best practices, learnings and offer tools for founders to be...

There are very real differences in how women and men (and VCs) view entrepreneurship, underscores a new survey

In the increasingly crowded world of venture capital, many more firms are producing research as a way to differentiate themselves from the pack. Earlier this year, for example, Wing, a venture firm that focuses primarily on enterprise startups, published a state of the industrial IoT market. The consumer-tech investment firm Goodwater Capital is becoming known for its occasional equity research report on a still-private company. Now Illuminate Ventures, a nine-year-old, woman-led, early-stage venture firm that’s focused on enterprise cloud and mobile computing startups, has produced some thought-provoking research of its own around how women and male founders view entrepreneurship, from why they do it to how much support they receive from family members. First, a little about Illuminate’s ...

Microsoft partners with Black Girls Code to help the organization launch Seattle chapter

Microsoft has partnered with Black Girls Code, led by Kimberly Bryant, to enable the organization to launch a chapter in Seattle, Microsoft announced on LinkedIn today. Since launching in 2011, Black Girls Code has introduced technology and computer science to young black girls in 13 cities throughout the country. Seattle marks Black Girls Code’s 14th chapter. Microsoft also deepened its partnership with Technology Access Foundation, founded by Trish Millines Dziko. Across both partnerships, Microsoft invested $500,000. Earlier this year, Black Girls Code teamed up with Lyft — after turning down a $125,000 donation from Uber last year —  to make the non-profit organization one of Lyft’s Round Up & Donate partners. In a LinkedIn post, Microsoft Corporate VP and Lead Mary Snapp said she ...

Ellen Pao memoir adaptation among 7 new Shonda Rhimes projects for Netflix

When Shonda Rhimes left ABC last August for Netflix, both she and the studio kept a tight lid on their plans. We could only imagine where the twists and turns that her future stories would take us. Well, now we know. This week, Rhimes’s production company Shondaland and Netflix announced seven projects that she will make for the streaming platform with her production partner Betsy Beers who also made the move to Netflix. The projects tell stories of women of color, talented kids, important and routinely overlooked American history, fancy English relationships and pre-2017 White House doings. Shonda Rhimes just announced SEVEN new Netflix projects — let’s break them down: Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning book, “The Warmth of Other Suns” will track the migration of African-Ame...

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