Obama will meet with entrepreneurs to push diversity in venture capital

The venture capitalists who fund startups are racist, sexist pigs and need to give more money to blacks and women.  That appears to be the message being sent by the Obama administration as the White House hosts a "Demo Day" that will include several top venture capital firms as well as prominent startups.


With 3 percent of startups backed by venture capital led by women and 1 percent by blacks, and women representing 4 percent of venture capital investors, the White House is hosting its first “Demo Day” to try to increase all of those figures.

“We live in a world of a lot of unconscious bias,” said Megan Smith, the U.S. chief technology officer, who previously was vice president of business development at Google Inc. “We have to help ourselves get past that. It’s of critical importance to the economy.”

Obama has staked part of his economic legacy on equal pay for women and greater workplace protections for them. A message of the entrepreneur day will be that increasing gender and racial diversity is also good for corporate bottom lines, said Tom Kalil, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy deputy director for technology and innovation.

“It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the profitable thing to do,” he said.

The White House event, modeled after private sector demo days, will be different than the popular “Shark Tank” TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to investors, Smith said in an interview.

Institutional investors, including the California Public Employees Retirement System and the New York City pension funds, plan to announce as part of the White House event that they’ll spend more than $11 billion to increase manager diversity, according to the Obama administration.

Shorter White House: The value and uniqueness of an idea for investment is not as important as the skin color of the entrepreneur.

I can't say this is suprising, given the proclivity of this White House to turn the world upside-down in its quest for diversity.  And the companies play along because of the veiled threat of government lawsuits if they don't. 

The meritocracy that used to drive American capitalism is being subsumed by the drive for "inclusiveness."  This doesn't mean there aren't opportunities to fund startups by minorities and women.  But to place an emphasis on skin color and sex in determining investment means that better opportunities will be lost.

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