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Reon Cloete: Investing in Diverse Founders and Entrepreneurs

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi folks! I’m Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth, back with a new guest as we kick off Pride Month 2022. Reon Cloete, Legal Counsel at GV, is committed to making a difference in the world. Let’s see how he’s doing it!

Spiffy: Welcome, Reon, it’s great to have you here today! What challenge is GV addressing?

Reon: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! As an organization, GV provides capital to founders who transform industries and create new ones.

Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?

Reon: I have a passion for technology and venture capital, and I very much wanted to be the change in the industry that I wanted to see.

Spiffy: That’s the best, and most inspiring, way! I’d love further elaboration on how GV’s work puts on the path towards a more equitable world

Reon: The lack of racial diversity within the venture capital space is well known, and in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the industry responded with pledges to address the problem. At that point, GV was already actively investing in diverse founders and working to increase the number of underrepresented founders in our portfolio. We recently hired a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) partner, Candice Morgan, focused on creating inclusive strategies for GV and its portfolio companies, and helping the firm expand diversity across the entrepreneurs it funds.

Spiffy: I love that. Is there another recent initiative you’d like to share and how it impacts your community?

Reon: Well we recently doubled down on our commitment to diversify our vendors and suppliers by requiring all the law firms who do work for us to have diverse teams working on our transactions. While a small change, it is nonetheless a necessary one which creates incentive across the industry to hire and invest in diverse talent. Doing so is probably one of the most effective ways to foster diversity and inclusion.

Spiffy: Tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make.

Reon: We recently invested in a company called Career Karma, which serves as a marketplace that helps match people to job training programs called “coding bootcamps”. The bootcamps are generally run over a few months and teach students a range of skills from coding to data science which are essential to break into tech. They essentially remove some of the barriers to entry by not only connecting students to bootcamps, while also providing free coaching and peer mentorship networks.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Reon—it’s been an honor!

Reon Cloete is a venture capital lawyer at GV, a VC investment firm that provides funding to technology companies. Prior to joining GV, Reon was an associate at Gunderson Dettmer. He counseled startups and venture capital funds on debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance matters.(First published on the Ladderworks website on June 1, 2022.)

© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy’s Corner here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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