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PledgeLA: Los Angeles tops U.S. funding for startups led by women and people of color

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A new study released this week from PledgeLA — a coalition of hundreds of venture capital (VC) and tech leaders in Los Angeles working to increase equity, community engagement, and accountability around corporate diversity efforts — shows Los Angeles VCs outpacing national funding for women and people of color-led businesses.

With participation from 174 organizations and based on both public and self-reported data, survey results revealed that investments from L.A.-based VCs for Black, Latinx, and women founders outpace the national average. The investments made by PledgeLA VCs in Black founders increased by 71% since last year. Far more gains are needed, however, when it comes to funding for women and Latinx-owned businesses. Given that one out of every 10 VC dollars flows through Los Angeles — a 39 percent increase from 2019 — these trends have national implications.

The survey showed that women and people of color still face persistent pay gaps, however. While women in L.A. tech companies have greater representation from entry level to senior management positions than Silicon Valley, women earn significantly less than men (a gap larger than the national average). Additionally, Black and Latinx employees earn far less than their peers.

And surprisingly, the survey also revealed that the number of Gen X tech employees saw a significant decrease in 2021. While the majority of staff demographics remained unchanged between the 2020 and 2021 surveys, results did see a significant shift in the age of PledgeLA companies’ workforce. Just 22% of workers reported belonging to Generation X or older this year, a decline from 37% last year. This means the vast majority of the L.A. tech workforce was born between 1980 and 1990, a spike in the number of millennials, and a decline in opportunities for older adults. This raises important questions about potential ageism and the representation of diverse age groups in the tech workforce.

PledgeLA is a coalition of hundreds of venture capital (VC) and tech leaders in Los Angeles working to increase equity, community engagement, and accountability around corporate diversity efforts.

Read the full report from PledgeLA.

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