A new initiative is urging VCs to share their diversity data in a bid to tackle the diversity problem in the tech industry.

Some 10 VCs have already agreed to share the data with DiversityVC, the British Business Bank and BVCA, as part of the agreement, which was announced at the BVCA’s Breaking Barriers conference.

US data shows that, in 2017, 2% of all VC funding went to companies started solely by women, and the figure is only 17% for companies with at least one female founder.

Analysis by the British Business Bank suggests the picture is very similar in the UK, but the data from the VCs will help to shed more light on the issue.

All VC’s are invited to share their diversity data anonymously. The firms which have already agreed to contribute their data are: Amadeus Capital, Atomico, Balderton Capital, Draper Esprit, Frog Capital, Frontline Ventures, LocalGlobe, Notion Capital, Oxford Capital Partners and Scottish Equity Partners.

Alice Hu-Wagner, British Business Bank’s head of strategy, economics and business development launched the initiative. She commented: “It’s difficult for the industry to make progress without the data to understand where the problems lie. This initiative gives VCs a way to share their insights without compromising their proprietary methods”

British Business Bank CEO Keith Morgan continued: “The British Business Bank is ideally placed to help the industry address these challenges, given our impartiality, knowledge and experience. We are asking fund managers to step forward, contributing their focus and data to help facilitate this industry-wide effort.”

In 2017 Diversity VC and BVCA published findings on VC investors, showing that women are underrepresented in the UK VC industry: 27% of the VC labour force are women, and only 13% of decision makers are female.

BVCA deputy director general and director of policy Gurpreet Manku said: “The BVCA is very supportive of this research and encourages all venture capital firms to participate to maximise its value to the industry.  The British Business Bank is ideally placed to carry out this study and its findings will offer unique insights that will benefit both female founders and venture capital investors alike.”

Diversity VC CEO Check Warner concluded: “It is comparatively easy to take the total number of companies that have raised money, and to count the number of founders from diverse backgrounds. It is extremely difficult to know the ‘hidden’ number that comes before: those that have attempted to raise funding from venture capitalists. The ambition of this project is to shine a light on this previously secret process. We need venture capitalists to step up to the plate and share their data anonymously, to help make their industry a fairer place”