ASPEN, Colo. — Kleiner Perkins won the discrimination lawsuit that former partner Ellen Pao brought against the company.
But if managing partner John Doerr is happy about the victory, he — wisely — isn’t letting it show.
“Nobody is happy about this kind of thing,” Doerr said with regard to the lawsuit.
“I believe this should have been resolved outside of the judicial system. And we tried very, very hard,” Doerr said, in response to a question here at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference about a million-dollar settlement that Kleiner reportedly offered Pao. He didn’t confirm that amount, but stated, “it just wasn’t possible.”
In the end, he said, a jury of six women and six men ruled “decisively” in favor of Kleiner.
That’s not to say that he’s brushing off Pao’s — and others’ — accusations of gender and racial bias in the tech industry at large and the venture industry specifically.
“Internally, it brought people together, because we’ve got a good sense of who we are and what we’re about. But we know we can do better,” Doerr said.
“Look, we know we can do better,” he said. “I think it was a case of the right issue but the wrong case.”
To that end, Doerr said that Kleiner is embracing four new initiatives to increase diversity at the firm and in its portfolio companies:
- Unconscious bias training. The firm is training its own staff, as well as those of its portfolio companies, to recognize the kinds of unconscious bias that can prevent women or minorities’ full talents being recognized.
- Regular diversity reports. Kleiner will be issuing annual reports on the diversity of its partners (currently about 30 percent of the firm’s partners are women) in order to hold the firm accountable.
- Recruiting more diverse candidates to its fellows program. Kleiner wants 50 percent of the aspiring entrepreneurs in its internship program to eventually be women or minorities.
- Focusing on retention and advancement in portfolio companies. “It is really difficult being the only female on an engineering team, the only African American in the boardroom,” Doerr said. So the firm is working to bring more mentors to help people within its companies, and to help new people feel more welcome.
As for venture capital at large, Doerr didn’t mince words. Although Kleiner’s ratio of female partners is pretty good, he said the industry at large has a lot to do.
“We collectively are pathetic on the issue. 6 percent of venture capitalists are female,” Doerr said. “That’s just dumb.”