Veteran Triangle venture capitalist Art Pappas has been named to a task force formed by the National Venture Capital Association that aims to boost diversity in the venture capital and entrepreneurial sectors.
Pappas, founder and CEO of Durham-based A.M. Pappas & Associates, is one of 11 venture capitalists from across the country named to the association’s Diversity Task Force. The appointments were announced Monday.
The task force, according to the association, “will examine the lack of diversity in the venture capital industry and develop meaningful solutions to build a more inclusive, stronger innovation economy for the 21st Century.”
According to a recent study released by Babson College, the number of women partners in venture capital firms nationwide actually has fallen to 6 percent, down from 10 percent in 1999.
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Moreover, the study found, venture capital firms that have female partners are more than twice as likely to invest in startups that boast a woman on the management team.
A Washington Post column about the new task force by Vivek Wadha, who has been highly critical of the lack of diversity among venture capitalists, noted: “On the surface, this looks like just another news release by an industry under fire; but I think there is much more to it. The NVCA is providing true leadership and challenging its members to clean up their act.”
Wadhwa is a former Triangle entrepreneur who holds academic positions at Stanford, Singularity and Duke universities. At the latter he is director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization.
The association task force intends to conduct a series of public events next year to solicit ideas on the best way to expand diversity in both the venture capital industry and among entrepreneurial companies.
“The future of innovation in the U.S. depends on supporting diverse groups of current and aspiring venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,” Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the association, said in a prepared statement.