We hold ourselves accountable for success in diversity, and report metrics to our LPs. As part of our diligence process, we request diversity metrics from startups under evaluation for partnership. We partner with theBoardlist to help our portfolio companies find qualified female board members. We hold ourselves and our portfolio community to an Anti-Harassment Policy, as follows:
Definitions of Harassment
Harassment includes verbal, written or physical conduct that shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, pardoned conviction or any other characteristic that:
is intended to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment;
unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance;
adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities(1).
Sexual harassment may be defined by some or all of the following behaviours and actions:
verbal harassment such as sexual or sexist remarks and innuendo;
direct sexual propositions such as unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, and/or sexually themed communication;
sexual coercion or bribery such as implicit or explicit sexual requests in exchange for reward or threat of punishment; and
sexual assault such as unconsented physical contact or rape(2). Sexual and physical assaults are defined by the Criminal Code and will be dealt with according to that legislation(3).
Absolutely no form of harassment or discrimination will be tolerated against members within the firm, our network of portfolio companies, our stakeholders or members of the broader inovia community (e.g., founders). Anyone who is found to have harassed or discriminated against another individual will be subject to disciplinary action. This includes anyone who interferes with the outcome of a complaint; retaliates against an individual for filing a complaint; or files an unfounded complaint intended to cause harm. This applies to all behaviour that is connected to work, which includes off-site meetings and business trips(4).
Investigation and Enforcement
All harassment allegations will be sensitively and carefully investigated with priority by inovia’s General Partner Advisory Committee. Following an investigation, appropriate actions will be taken to resolve the matter by managing the situation and preventing future occurrence. Every effort will be made to ensure the victim’s privacy is maintained whilst protecting the rights of the accused, as measures to resolve the matter are put in place(5).
In addition to standard recruitment practices, due diligence of candidates will also be carried out to assess possible past breaches of ethical workplace policies and practices, in order to avoid hires who have been terminated due to workplace policy violations(6).
See Something, Experience Something, Say Something
Please inform us should you observe or experience any violations outlined in this policy. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your feedback in this form, which provides an option to remain anonymous. All complaints will be treated with respect and discretion.
In addition to the above, we have implemented measures to enhance our focus in the following areas:
Metrics and Diversity Programs
As a venture firm, we have traditionally tracked the obvious metrics of growth and profitability for our portfolio companies. However, through our work in developing a position on diversity, we have come to believe that other factors contribute equally to a company’s performance. We are now tracking diversity metrics within our firm and across portfolio companies, including as part of the due diligence process for all new and follow-on investments. Additionally, we have begun creating and sharing insights on diversity programs and strategies to help build greater inclusion amongst portfolio companies.
We stand behind Reid Hoffman’s #decencypledge(7) and are committed to work with the founder, LP and VC communities in Canada and the US to hold ourselves and the industry accountable for greater inclusivity.
Leveraging Valuable Resources
The startup ecosystem benefits from the contributions of industry leaders who’ve adopted the responsibility of educating and supporting the community as we all work towards accelerating diversity and inclusivity in our environment. These are the resources that we defer to in setting our internal policies.
[Anon, (2017). [online] Available: [https://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/research-topics/office-hr/identifying-and-preventing-harassment-in-your-workplace] [Accessed 27 Jul. 2017].
TechCrunch. (2017). A template for investor/founder sexual harassment policy. [online] Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/05/harassment-policy-template/?utm_campaign=Mattermark%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=53974974&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9lhoqdYJpBPs1OtFtZhgckUwplyDXgFNxTL1Ub7sMG1N61-LU8NpTl-3O41vosa_KjVBSAr0BoOvdf2yZth__77j2pkw&_hsmi=53974974 [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
Secretariat, T. (2017). Is it Harassment? A Tool to Guide Employees – Canada.ca. [online] Canada.ca. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/healthy-workplace/prevention-resolution-harassment/harassment-tool-employees.html [Accessed 27 Jul. 2017].
(2017). [online] Available at: https://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/sites/default/files/template_anti-harassment.pdf [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
Harris, M. (2017). Silicon Valley doesn’t need more apologies for sexism — it needs a plan. [online] Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/meena-harris-a-framework-for-dealing-with-sexual-harassment-2017-7 [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017]
TechCrunch. (2017). A template for investor/founder sexual harassment policy. [online]
Medium. (2017). The Human Rights of Women Entrepreneurs – Reid Hoffman – Medium. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/@reidhoffman/the-human-rights-of-women-entrepreneurs-c6da801de9db[Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].