Inclusive Economy | March 4, 2017

Silicon Valley is deep in ‘diversity debt’

The team at


You’ve heard of the diversity dividend.

The flip side is the hit companies take from sexual harassment and other scandals, as Uber, Tesla and Magic Leap can attest.

Not dealing with diversity and inclusion early can be as constraining (and compounding) to a company as financial debt, says angel investor Susan Wu, co-founder of Project Include, a group of women activists that promote diversity in the tech industry.

Diversity debt starts piling up with a company’s first 10 hires. Startup founders too often hire from among friends and existing networks, rather than recruiting candidates with a range of race, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Every decision they make from the very birth of their company worsens their liability, and time only makes the problem harder to solve,” Wu says.

Companies and organizations should take the recent object lessons seriously, “lest we all wind up as Ubers.”