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The tech industry may suffer from a lack of diversity — but not 500 Startups.
Today 500 Startups, the accelerator program with locations in Mountain View, Calif., San Francisco, and Mexico City, is announcing that it’s promoting two of its venture partners, Bedy Yang and Khailee Ng, to managing partners.
Based out of Brazil, Yang has been with 500 Startups since 2011, during which she’s made more than 25 investments in Brazil and 50 globally. She’s been part of Brazil’s startup community for many years and worked as consultant earlier on in her career.
Ng runs 500 Startups’ Southeast Asian fund, and he’s made more than 30 investments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. He first joined the program in 2012 as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Prior to that, he co-founded Says.com, acquired by Catcha Group, and Groupsmore, acquired by Groupon.
These promotions mean that 500 Startups’ management team (i.e., managing partners) is now more than 50 percent female , and 40 percent of it is based outside the U.S. 500 Startup’s overall team is now just under 40 percent female (13 out of 35), one-third foreign born, and collectively speaks 20 languages.
Over the years, 500 Startups has invested in 200 companies from outside the U.S., representing more than 40 countries.
For a bit of context, Y Combinator has 17 full-time partners, and four of them are women (about 24 percent). President Sam Altman once even said that they’re the ones “running” Y Combinator — hopefully a playful nod to their leadership skills and the respect I hope they command from their male peers. Altman has also recently revealed that about 19.5 percent of YC companies in the past year had female founders, and that 39.6 percent of founders in its Summer 2014 batch were born outside of the U.S., from 27 countries. Obviously, these numbers need a lot of improvement, as Altman admits.
As mentioned, diversity is a huge problem in the tech industry, and organizations, despite their efforts still have a lot to do in that area. Hopefully, as they continue to diversify their leaderships, so will the companies they work with will also become more diverse.
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