How Building an Equitable Cap Table is Transforming VC Investment

Startups have long been recognized as drivers of innovation and economic growth. However, the lack of diversity and inclusion within the startup ecosystem has been a persistent issue. To address this, industry leaders are advocating for the construction of equitable cap tables, which prioritize diversity among co-founders, employees, and investors. By taking intentional steps to diversify their cap tables, startups can spread wealth more fairly and create a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.

Diversity in startups goes beyond just ethnicity; it encompasses a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. When startups are homogenous, they tend to suffer from groupthink, limiting their ability to identify and address blind spots. By embracing diversity, startups can tap into a wealth of unique ideas, insights, and networks that can drive innovation and success.

Additionally, diversity in startups can have economic benefits. Research has shown that diverse teams are more likely to outperform their peers, leading to better financial outcomes. A study by McKinsey found that companies with diverse executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability.

Leading the charge in advocating for an equitable cap table are Ashley Mayer, co-founder and general partner at Coalition Operators; Amanda Robson, partner at Cowboy Ventures; and Richie Serna, CEO at Finix. These industry experts will be sharing their insights and experiences on the Builder Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, a highly anticipated event taking place in San Francisco.

Ashley Mayer brings a wealth of experience to the table as the co-founder and general partner of Coalition Operators. This early-stage venture fund is dedicated to bringing top women operators onto cap tables at scale, pioneering a new model for diversity and inclusion in startups. Mayer’s background includes serving as the VP of comms at Glossier, where she played a crucial role in the company’s growth from a 50-person team to an IPO. She also has experience in venture capital, having worked at Social Capital, where she helped founders amplify their stories and launch new capital products.

Amanda Robson, a seed investor at Cowboy Ventures, focuses on software infrastructure investments. With a keen interest in fostering diversity, Robson is an active member of All Raise and has founded the Modern Angels community, which brings together over 250 female and nonbinary angel investors. She co-hosts the Open Source Startup Podcast, where she has conducted numerous interviews with open-source founders, providing valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities they face.

As the CEO of Finix, Richie Serna is on a mission to create the most accessible financial services ecosystem in history. Finix is building a global operating system for fintech, starting with payments. Serna’s background includes working as an engineer at Balanced, a payment API company, and as a consultant at Booz & Company. With his expertise and vision, Serna is driving innovation in the fintech space and championing diversity in startup investments.

At TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, Mayer, Robson, and Serna will be discussing the intricacies of constructing an equitable cap table. This session will delve into topics such as making room for diverse investors and securing diverse lead investors, rather than relying on the usual suspects. They will also explore strategies for protecting early investor pro rata rights to ensure that early and diverse investors can maintain their stake in the business.

Diversifying startups and VC investment is a multifaceted issue, and this session promises to shed light on various aspects of the challenge. It is an essential conversation for founders, investors, and anyone interested in fostering a more inclusive and equitable startup ecosystem.

TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 offers a platform for industry leaders, investors, and founders to come together and discuss the latest trends and challenges in the startup world. The event features various stages, including the Builder Stage, where sessions on operations, hiring, fundraising, and more will take place.


Q: Why is diversity important in startups? A: Diversity brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table, fostering innovation and driving better financial outcomes. Diverse teams are more likely to outperform their peers and create a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.

Q: How can startups build diverse teams? A: Startups can build diverse teams by actively seeking co-founders and employees from underrepresented backgrounds, promoting inclusive hiring practices, and creating an inclusive culture that values and respects diversity.

Q: Why is it important to diversify the investor base? A: Diversifying the investor base ensures that wealth and opportunities are spread more fairly. It also brings a wider range of perspectives and networks to the table, which can benefit startups in various ways, including access to new markets and expertise.

Q: How can startups protect early investor pro-rata rights? A: Startups can protect early investor pro-rata rights by including them in the term sheet and ensuring that these rights are clearly defined and legally binding. This allows early and diverse investors to maintain their overall stake in the business as it grows.

Q: Where can I learn more about the latest trends and challenges in the startup world? A: TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 is an excellent platform to learn more about the latest trends and challenges in the startup world. The event features various stages, including the Builder Stage, where industry experts share their insights and experiences. Visit the TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 website for more information.

First reported by TechCrunch.