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Fighting Discrimination in Tech

Fighting Discrimination in Tech
November 29, 2021

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I hope you had a great holiday weekend. Have you had your coffee? Good. Then let’s go!

Today, we’re exploring a powerful challenge to Big Tech’s handling of discrimination in the workplace and its central figure, Ifeoma Ozoma. The 29-year-old Yale graduate and daughter of Nigerian immigrants has worked for big-name companies like Pinterest, Facebook, and Google. She and her colleague, Aerica Shimizu Banks, both left their positions at Pinterest after facing alleged unequal pay, racist comments, and retaliation for raising complaints at the company. When Pinterest posted content supporting the company's Black employees during the BLM protests in the Spring of 2020, Ms. Ozoma and Ms. Banks spoke out on Twitter, sharing experiences that contrasted with the company’s promotion of itself as an equitable employer.

Ms. Ifeoma Ozoma for The New York Times

What followed has been a tour-de-force in the power of whistleblowing and activism, resulting in the signing in California of new legislation creatog an activist playbook for whistleblowers and preventing employers from using NDAs to silence former employees regarding workplace discrimination. That legislation is the Silenced No More Act, which revokes power from nondisclosure agreements that formerly silenced workers voicing discrimination grievances. The playbook is called the Tech Worker Handbook and provides guidance on legal issues, the media, security, and storytelling. Ms. Ozoma is helping others push for similar legislation in their states and offers equity consulting through her firm, Earthseed.

At Apple, the notoriously tight-lipped company has had its recent share of employees speaking out. In a rather damning article about three activists inside the company, workplace hostility around the employees' attempts to organize for transparency around pay, workplace safety, and equity ultimately ended in all three employees leaving.

In all cases where alleged workplace discrimination arises, there seems always to follow a boilerplate company statement about a nebulous commitment to an inclusive and positive workplace. Even though harassment and discrimination in the workplace face legislative protections in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1963 Equal Pay Act, and others, these stories continue to be commonplace, despite workforce and management teams reflecting more diversity these days.

Companies like Talenya and Ethena seek to change this dynamic with a more robust hiring pipeline for diverse employees and with workplace harassment training. 

Want more data on this topic? Stay tuned for our next Diversity in Funding Report, in early 2022.

Since last week, PrivCo has added:
604 Companies | 96 Funding Activities | 52 M&A Deals

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Funding & Deal Highlights:


Fuzzy raises $44MM from Icon Ventures

Veterinary • Round C • San Francisco, CA

New Culture raises $25MM from Ahren Innovation Capital

Vegan • Round A • San Francisco, CA

AutoCloud raises $4MM from Animo Ventures

Cloud Platform • Seed • Chicago, IL

Deliverr raises $250MM from Tiger Global

Delivery Service •Equity • San Francisco, CA

Sword Health raises $163MM from Sapphire Ventures

Health Care Providers • Round D • New York, NY

Comet raises $50MM from OpenView

PaaS • Round B • New York, NY

Namara Organic Foods raises $12MM from Eat Well Group

Kids Food • Round A • San Francisco, CA

Marks and Spencer Group acquires Nobody’s Child

Apparel • Acquisition • West End Ward, UK

Netflix acquires Scanline VFX

Entertainment • Acquisition • Los Gatos, CA acquires

Payment Processing • Acquisition • New York, NY

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