Uncoventional Ventures’ Lau: Diversity is more than a buzzword in fintech

The startup and venture capital ecosystem may profess to be colorblind, but a look at where funding dollars are going presents a different picture.

According to recent research, there have been two quarters since 2009 where the proportion of venture dollars going to female founders exceeded 17%. What’s more, according to RateMyInvestor and DiversityVC, 77.1% of venture-backed founders are white, 17% are Asian, 2.8% are Middle Eastern, Latino founders represent 1.8%, and 1% are black.

While the above numbers represent the overall startup ecosystem, Theodora Lau, founder of Unconventional Ventures, contends that this problem extends to fintech. In particular, she’s rallied against tokenism, arguing that a more systematic approach to diversifying the industry is needed. Lau, a former director of market innovation at AARP, currently focuses on mentoring startup founders, with the goal to have more voices represented.

“[Some companies] want to do more, they seem to be a little stuck. So how can they do more? Some are like, ‘yeah, you know, guess what, we have improved our percentage by 1%, or 2% and we should celebrate,” she said. 

In this episode of Fintech Unfiltered, which is sponsored by Blend, Lau spoke to Bank Innovation about what financial technology companies lose if they don’t foster talent from different communities and don’t consider different perspectives when innovating.

Bank Innovation Ignite, which will take place on March 2-3 in Seattle, is a must-attend industry event for professionals overseeing financial technologies, product experiences and services. This is an exclusive, invitation-only event for executives eager to learn about the latest innovations. Request your invitation.