In­tel fund backs start-up di­ver­sity

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - As­so­ci­ated press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In­tel is launch­ing a $125-mil­lion in­vest­ment fund for tech­nol­ogy start-ups led by women and mi­nori­ties, a move the chip maker says is aimed at chang­ing the face of Sil­i­con Val­ley.

The new fund, which is un­usual for its fo­cus on mi­nor­ity-led com­pa­nies, is part of a broader ef­fort that In­tel Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Brian Krzanich has launched amid wide­spread crit­i­cism of a U.S. tech in­dus­try dom­i­nated by white male ex­ec­u­tives and in­vestors.

Krzanich an­nounced plans ear­lier this year to spend $300 mil­lion on di­ver­sity ef­forts and pledged to make In­tel’s work­force and ex­ec­u­tive ranks more closely re­sem­ble the U.S. work­force by 2020.

In­tel has pre­vi­ously said its work­force is about 24% fe­male and 12% black and His­panic. The U.S. work­force is about 47% women and 26% black and His­panic.

The new in­vest­ment fund will raise In­tel’s com­mit­ment to more than $300 mil­lion, In­tel of­fi­cials said, although they said there is some over­lap and they did not pro­vide fi­nan­cial de­tails.

It’s in­tended to help build a more di­verse “ecosys­tem” of smaller com­pa­nies and en­trepreneurs that plays an im­por­tant role in the tech in­dus­try, Krzanich said Tues­day.

De­spite statis­tics that show that few fe­male- and mi­nor­ity-led start-ups re­ceive ven­ture fund­ing, he said In­tel wants to show “there are plenty of women- and mi­nor­ity-led start-up com­pa­nies, and we want to work with them.”

The first com­pa­nies to re­ceive back­ing from the new pro­gram in­clude Ve­nafi, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity firm; CareCloud, which makes In­ter­net-based soft­ware for the health in­dus­try; and Mark One, which makes a “smart” cup that an­a­lyzes the nu­tri­tional con­tent of bev­er­ages.

To qual­ify for fund­ing, firms must have a fe­male or mi­nor­ity founder or CEO, or at least three top ex­ec­u­tives who are women or mi­nori­ties, said Lisa Lam­bert, who is over­see­ing the fund.

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