Perhaps the best way to describe the year 2020 would be “trial by fire.” It seemed like all the forces of the universe were working together to push humanity to its knees. While most people will look back and remember the COVID-19 pandemic and how lockdowns affected lives permanently, let’s not be too quick to forget the other events that made 2020 historic.
In the United States, 2020 was a year of racial reckoning. Following Minneapolis resident George Floyd’s death at the hands of uniformed officers, millions of Americans banded together to incite change. Racial inequality has long been a problem in the U.S. and is one that keeps getting swept under the rug. Today, many companies are using their influence to make change happen for themselves, their customers, shareholders, and local communities.
Diversity in Tech
Of all the industries in the world, tech companies are growing the fastest. Because of the numerous opportunities in the field — from artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to online software and video game development — the need for workers in the tech space is always high. However, it’s also an extremely competitive field and has proven to be one of the least diverse industry sectors.
Two-thirds of the biggest tech companies in the U.S. have fewer than 5% Black employees. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize those numbers are problematic. You’ll often hear the excuse that companies are simply hiring the best candidates available, regardless of race or gender. The fact is that thousands of workers of different ethnicities are not receiving the same opportunities to show their worth.
Bevy Funding Takes Charge
While many of the largest tech brands are lacking in the diversity department, others are taking matters into their own hands and leading the charge for inclusivity. Bevy is the perfect example of a company doing what it can to make a difference in tech diversity. The company’s platform powers enterprise-level events. It helps companies like Google, Facebook, Salesforce, and Twitch hold virtual and hybrid gatherings. Bevy recently announced a $40M series C funding round, valuing the company at $325M.
This round of funding was more than a notch in Bevy’s belt, as they continue a growing streak of business success. Rather, they saw this as an opportunity to make their company and the tech industry as a whole more inclusive. The syndicate involved in the funding includes over 25 prominent Black leaders.
“We believe the best tech companies of tomorrow will have equal and fair representation across all communities, but especially people of color,” says Bevy’s CEO and co-founder Derek Andersen. Twenty percent of the raised funds come from Black investors, who make up 70% of the group as a whole. Included in the group is Facebook board member Peggy Alford, diversity and inclusion trailblazer James Lowry, and former Beats by Dre CMO Omar Johnson. Bevy is proud to have the shared support of these and many other incredible Black business people.
Putting Money Where Their Mouth Is
Bevy is opening its arms to many of the country’s most accomplished Black investors and is committed to increasing their employee diversity substantially. Their goal is to have Black employees represent 20% of all company employees by September of this year.
Bevy hopes to start a trend for other established tech companies to open up their doors to people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. “Unfortunately, there are not enough people of color who are really active participants in the free enterprise system,” states entrepreneur Lowry. “If black and brown people are not going to be a part of tech, we’re going to lose.”
In 2017, Bevy was launched by the co-founders of Startup Grind, a global community for aspiring entrepreneurs that now has chapters in over 125 countries and 500 cities. Bevy uses virtual conferencing as a way to help enterprise brands build communities. The $325M valuation is quadruple the company’s value of last year. With COVID-19 accelerating the need for virtual connectivity, Bevy’s services have been in high demand and continue to lead the way in community building among top-level companies.