SXSW 2020

Who Gets to Decide? Flipping Power Dynamics in VC


What if startups chose for themselves who should get money? Would they back more diverse founders? It turns out the answer might be yes.

A typical VC firm invests in about a dozen companies for every 1,000 pitch decks they review. Investors need to make quick gut decisions and rely on "pattern recognition" to separate the signal from the noise, which helps explain why female-founded ventures receive only 15% of startup funding and Black and Latinx entrepreneurs receive less than 2%.

For 10 years Village Capital has been testing an alternative model: a due diligence process led by groups of peer entrepreneurs. CEO Allie Burns will lead a conversation about how flipping the power dynamics can reduce implicit bias and lead to more inclusive decision-making, and what others can learn.

Related Media

Other Resources / Information


  1. The numbers don't lie: a new 10-year study shows that "peer review" reduces bias against female founders, and accurately predicts startup success
  2. Learn what VC firms and angel investors can do to incorporate elements of peer feedback into their own decision-making processes
  3. We will discuss other alternative decision-making models in VC, and why the "how" of investing is just as important as the "who"



Ben Wrobel, Director Of Communications, Village Capital

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Startups
  • Track 2
  • Level: Beginner

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.