Why theBoardlist Matters to Us, and to You

A letter to our founders

TLDR: theBoardlist.com is a resource you’ll want to use to improve your business. Contact us to start a conversation.

Reflecting on recent growth at Inovia (we’re now at 32 FTEs!), it amazes me how much we’ve changed as we’ve grown. Beyond becoming a full stack capital partner, to support our founders’ success in building enduring global businesses, we’re starting to find our voice — and muscles — in governance, diversity and inclusion.

And, it turns out that these two ideas — building enduring businesses and great governance / D&I — are more closely coupled than would first appear. In this memo I share some of our experiences on our journey, and explain how investing in theBoardlist, and encouraging you to also use their services, came naturally for us.

We’ve established a set of qualitative goals, each with a quantitative metric and target to measure progress, and we report on our experience with those to our LPs each quarter. As an example, in aspiring that Inovia be a partner that outperforming female founders will seek out and prefer to work with, we track gender diversity within our own team. This approach drives real conversation and empowers Inovians to take actions and propose initiatives that are compatible with these goals. Being aware of our behaviour and asking whether that behaviour aligns with our core values is important. What’s important about the numbers is that they sometimes “give permission” to surface uncomfortable observations, which then drives change.

It resonates deeply with our team that better business results from a workplace environment that welcomes the full range of diverse talent available. It also matters, and perhaps moreso, that employers commit to supporting each individual in fully developing their abilities and successes to their maximum potential. We also believe that by making Inovia the very best, and thus preferred place to build a career, that we accrue a competitive advantage. We have heard that many of you are aligned in this belief for your businesses as well.

This commitment to creating meaningful and positive career experiences. both within Inovia and across our portfolio. is called out in our term sheets as a diversity, inclusion and great governance clause. We have seen great results from providing tools to our founders including the handbook for new board members, and a set of “commitment to great boards” documents used to start these conversations. As a result of these initiatives, many of our founders have set their own internal goals related to these topics, in many cases including a goal to expand the diversity of their boards and executive teams.

An additional tool, one that we’ve come to rely on to support searches across our portfolio many times in recent years since Sukhinder Singh Cassidy put the idea into action, is theBoardlist. When she and now-CEO Shannon Gordon got serious about raising a round and operationalizing this highly valuable platform, it was natural for us to jump in. Already an important member of Inovia’s platform as an investment advisory committee member, we knew Sukhinder as a visionary leader. She is a standout leader, delivering incredible results as President of Stubhub, and also a trusted colleague of Inovia Partner, Patrick Pichette, who worked together with her as a fellow Google executive.

Governance — great boards — represent a powerful opportunity in every company to set an empowering culture. The Board sets the example of trust and openness to a diversity of views from members bringing unique experiences, backgrounds, and biases to the conversations which are central to each growing business.

If you decide the time is right for a conversation about the value of making commitments to having a great board, and diversity and inclusion, give us a call.

— Shawn