Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is important to us as a firm.
Software and technology are growing sectors – in employment opportunities, in societal adoption, in business influence. Insight Partners is a core investor in this ecosystem, and we need our industry to reflect a society we aspire to, one that represents all people and provides equality and equal opportunity.
We are committed to making lasting changes to realize this goal. We also understand that it’s not enough to say these words if we don’t act to build a firm that demonstrates through our actions, and our metrics, that we uphold and live these values. This is the moment in time when we need to pivot irrevocably.
Since the death of George Floyd, we have asked questions and listened. With input and suggestions from our small cohort of Black colleagues, as well as other members of Insight’s community who represent minority groups, we are taking action.
We want to bring transparency to our efforts in the hopes that others will join us.
Here are actions Insight Partners is taking to increase Black and minority diversity at Insight Partners, within the software ecosystem and our portfolio companies.
Internal firm-wide actions
- Insight match of employee donations to Black social justice charities: Insight has set up a matching program for all employee donations in support of social justice organizations.
- Juneteenth designated an annual firm holiday: This is to recognize and remember the importance of this day in US history. In 2020, to emphasize the importance of shared insights on this issue, Insight used our WITH INSIGHT fireside chat series to learn from with Wes Moore, a social entrepreneur who is CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in the US.
- Firm-wide holiday to vote: Voting is a privilege and a civic duty. Every election day employees will have a day off to exercise this privilege. We encourage our portfolio companies to implement a similar policy.
- Educate ourselves on racial and minority injustice and solutions: Our WITH INSIGHT fireside chat series, which are widely attended and a public forum for idea sharing, will feature diverse speakers who will ensure social injustice challenges are discussed and remain top of mind.
- Commitment to include Black/ minority speakers at all Insight events: Insight-hosted roundtables (via Insight IGNITE, our corporate innovation team), portfolio summits (via Onsite, our ScaleUp operating team), and other firm events (e.g., AGM) will have diverse panels and speakers.
- Buy supplies from Black and minority-led or owned vendors: With more than 200 people, Insight office expenditure has an economic impact in New York city. The vendors we buy from include catering, office supplies, flowers, branded swag, construction, recruiters, and consultants, among others.
- Establish Insight DE&I Council to measure progress and ensure accountability: The council’s goal is to support individual or team-led initiatives through guidance and resourcing, and to track and communicate progress across all DE&I efforts.
- Initiative to ensure searches for future MD positions include candidates that have a diverse background, experience, and perspective to improve our leadership diversity.
- Continue to expand programs to ensure diverse candidate pipeline for undergrad recruiting: Insight hires more than a dozen interns every year, and many receive full time offers after their internship. We currently work with SEO, WayUp and actively recruit at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We are expanding our list of partner HBCUs and will work to ensure that all summer intern classes have diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
- Implement recruiting processes for non-investment hires to ensure representation: Insight hires a dozen people per year as lateral hires in non-investment positions. Our goal is to ensure all roles include candidates with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
Investing and software ecosystem actions
- Include a new diversity clause in Insight term sheets: Growth equity investors have begun to include language in their term sheets relating to DE&I. Insight will include a similar clause in our term sheets.
- Educate under-represented groups to build awareness of career opportunities in VC and PE: We are establishing a digital “What is VC?” content series to help educate under-represented groups about a potential career in VC and PE. We want more people to know about VC and to apply for open industry positions.
- Remove minimum commitment requirements for Insight’s future funds to enable HBCU Endowments to invest: This helps to ensure that HBCU endowments are able to access top tier investment vehicles no matter the size of their commitment.
- Spearhead industry-wide initiative to ensure Black and minority independent Board members for PE-backed companies: Insight has partnered with our portfolio company Diligent (board governance software) to sign up PE firms to commit to five board seats for people of color and minority board members. Insight has earmarked nine board seats to start with. Other initial participating PE firms include Clearlake Capital, Genstar Capital, Hellman & Friedman, Hg Capital, K1 Investment Management, and TA Associates.
- Sponsor and attend minority-focused conferences to build relationships with a broader network: Our relationships with Black and minority entrepreneurs, software operators and executives is too limited. Conferences and dinners for under-represented communities (e.g., AfroTech, LTX Summit), is one way to get to know more people in the industry and to support diverse recruiting, deal flow, and our knowledge of the ecosystem.
- Build relationships with under-represented GPs and founders: Our long-term goal is to have a portfolio of CEOs and founders that represent society. To do this we must develop broader relationships with minority GPs and early stage funds that invest in diverse entrepreneurs.
CEO and leadership commitment
- Establish a CEO & Portfolio Company Diversity Pledge: Top-down sponsorship of programs always yields progress. We are working with Black and minority advisors and a diverse group of portfolio CEOs to create a Faces of Change Diversity Pledge (e.g., similar to CEOAction.com). We invite all existing portfolio companies, and new investments we make, to sign up to this Pledge.
- Track portfolio diversity metrics and confidentially publish ScaleUp benchmarks: Insight tracks more than 150 ScaleUp SaaS metrics to help companies calibrate best-in-class capabilities. As part of our data-driven approach to scaling companies, a diversity scorecard can help to capture DE&I information, measure it and share it back with companies. We know that people manage what they measure. Increasing visibility will lead to improvement. This goes hand in hand with the previously mentioned CEO Pledge and the Term Sheet clause.
- Build and publish a list of recommended diversity advisors: CEOs and HR leaders have asked us for recommendations and guidance and so we’re creating a vetted list of firms and experts who can provide services to our portfolio on unconscious bias, micro-inequities, behavioral-based interview training, inclusion best practices, etc.
- Require a diverse slate for all Exec Searches executed for the portfolio: For many portfolio companies we are a trusted partner in their search for high quality leadership talent. We believe that all open positions should include a candidate slate with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and we are expanding Insight’s set of preferred executive recruiters to include Black and minority recruiters.
- Support and create internship opportunities for under-represented groups in software: One example of this includes Insight’s partnership with Gainsight to attract and train under-represented people to be customer success managers.