Oakland technology entrepreneurs and philanthropists Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein will spend $40 million over the next three years to help make Silicon Valley more diverse and inclusive, giving specifically to companies with leaders from underrepresented communities.
Mitch Kapor, a Silicon Valley pioneer who invented Lotus, and his wife, Freada, have spent much of the past decade at the forefront of expanding opportunities in the tech world for women, African Americans, Latinos and other minorities. The couple oversee a family of organizations in the philanthropic and socially conscious investment world — Kapor Capital, the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Level Playing Field Institute — all trying to increase diversity in Silicon Valley, whose leading companies are overwhelmingly male, white and Asian.
The organizations will officially announce plans Tuesday at the first White House Demo Day, which Mitch Kapor is scheduled to attend in Washington.
“Genius is evenly distributed across ZIP codes. Access and opportunity are not,” said Mitch Kapor. “With this investment, we’re doubling down on tech diversity because it’s good for individuals, communities and the economy as a whole.”
“A commitment to diversity and inclusion is nothing new for us, but we’ve often felt largely alone pursuing these initiatives,” he added. “We’re delighted now to have so many fellow travelers — including kids from low-income communities of color who are interested in careers in tech, entrepreneurs from all backgrounds building real businesses that solve real problems, and investors who are recognizing that some of the best financial returns can go hand in hand with diverse entrepreneurs and impact businesses.”
Over the next three years, the couple will invest $25 million in tech startups working to narrow the achievement gaps between demographic groups. They pledged that at least half the companies they invest in will have “founders from historically underrepresented communities,” in an effort to diversify the sector’s entrepreneurial ranks.
Written by Joe Garofoli