In any early-stage company, there are so many competing priorities and it is often difficult to know which ones to focus on first. Building a diverse and inclusive culture is usually one that is deprioritized, partly because there are few tools and resources relevant to early and growth stage companies, partly because it doesn’t feel urgent. However, having a diverse and inclusive culture and workforce is increasingly giving companies a competitive edge in the war for talent. This talk will focus on practical tips and advice on fostering diversity and inclusion in early-stage companies.
Francesca (Check) is an early stage VC. Currently, she is a venture advisor at Seraphim Capital, the only global space tech fund, investing £3-5m at seed and Series A in the space ecosystem, including in satellite constellations Spire and IceEye. Prior to joining Seraphim Capital, Check spent two and a half years at Downing Ventures, investing in over 30 early-stage technology businesses, with a focus on consumer health and deep technology. Companies she invested in include Vivacity Labs (computer vision and sensors for smart cities), True AI (conversational interfaces using machine learning) and Craft (building the source of truth on companies.)
Check is also the co-founder and CEO of Diversity VC, the world’s first nonprofit dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in venture capital. In May 2017, Diversity VC produced the first ever study on the number of women in VC, in partnership with the BVCA. Diversity VC’s work was highlighted in the UK government's November 2017 budget.
Before moving into venture, Check worked for the global advertising agency, AMV BBDO. She graduated from Cambridge in 2012.