Ethnic matching in the US VC market by Ola Bengtsson and David H. Hsu

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  • TL;DR: This paper studies how VC’s tend to be more favorable toward people who share their ethnicity (overwhelmingly white) and this has an overall negative effect on their success rate
  • How helpful?: 5/5
  • Topic Tags: ethnicity, demographics, diversity
  • Relevant questions addressed:
  • Since VC firms are overwhelmingly white, do people of color have a structural disadvantage when pitching? If so, what are some implications of this?


  • Shared ethnicity associated with…
    • higher likelihood that VC firm will invest in the startup
    • higher likelihood of the VC firm taking a board seat
    • Shared ethnicity associated with VC firm being more likely to invest at an early stage of the startup
    • VC firm investing more capital across more rounds of financing
    • VC firm offering higher pre-money valuation and receiving fewer investor-friendly cashflow contingency rights in the final contract
  • Matches based on shared ethnicity are associated with less successful outcomes
    • Partners either overestimate the benefit of shared ethnicity or they fail to impose a sufficient level of monitoring after the investment is made