“Our opinion is that this has to be a systematic plan,” John Rice, founder, and CEO of MLT told TechCrunch. It’s not just a program for coding, a mentor program, a fellowship program. There are plenty of wonderful ones. They are meaningful. But what we are saying is you have to work and take a long-term view of all these levers. Our view is that we can exponentially shift the needle to expand minority engagement in the tech ecosystem’s highest leverage areas.
For starters, the multi-faceted partnership will allow Greylock to tap into the network of approximately 8,000 Black, Latinx, and Indigenous professionals from MLT and link them to potential positions in the portfolio companies of the business. Besides, Greylock and MLT will partner to encourage retention in those firms, as well as help MLT professionals, pursue venture capital careers.
Yet promoters, early hires, and investors earn the greatest financial returns. This creates this network where those early employees and alumni from top companies such as Facebook or Google then continue to become entrepreneurs in the wealth creation cycle of the next generation of startups, Sze said.
“And the loop is repeating itself,” said Sze.
Then, he said, VCs are willing to help teams of individuals who used to work at those high-growth companies.
It compounds in their favor for those folks in the scheme, but that means for those left out, it becomes harder to find out how to get into it, Sze said.
That’s a big reason why Greylock and MLT are working with these tech start-ups to try to get more Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. And it’s not because there’s a pipeline shortage, because, Sze said, there’s plenty of talent accessible.
But he said that “the problem is really on our side” if there is a pipeline problem.
“That’s not on the talent line,” said Sze. “There’s a great deal of talent out there. It is that the networks and structures that have existed and developed in the Valley over time have not been conducive to that group’s inclusion.
Not only do leaders need to be well-educated, but they also need to be willing to keep themselves accountable to be more educated. And that doesn’t need them to be experts on racial history. It needs them to understand how, you know, they understand AI and Bitcoin and stuff like that. Comprehend this stuff.
Leadership, Rice said, also looks like committing to a holistic approach with the same degree of rigor that venture capitalists apply to how they invest in businesses, and that tech companies apply to their growth.
If we don’t have the same degree of rigor in our methodology and just assume that with spontaneous acts of diversity, we can pass the needle, then we’re done. We’re not going to get the needle moving. It will, you know, take a thorough approach.