Companies of all sizes need to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, but early stage companies, like startups, have a rare advantage—they can prioritize these policies and practices before their culture has taken root. Read more about why our partners at software startup Base are focusing on DEI right now.
Founded: December 2018
Funding round: Seed
What Base does
Founded in late 2018, Base is the first software platform built for assistants.
With nearly $3M in venture funding and thousands of users, we are well on our way to revolutionizing what it looks like to give and receive support in today’s world. Sneak peek: Our long-term vision involves making it easier than ever before for anyone to receive excellent, affordable, and scalable support from an assistant. And we mean anyone, because we think everyone deserves a little bit of leverage.
What does diversity mean to you?
Paige McPheely, CEO and cofounder: Diversity is such a big, nuanced word. On a high-level, diversity is the range of humanity’s differences. It’s what makes us each unique, and it includes our backgrounds, personalities, life experiences, and beliefs, all of the things that make us who we are.
If we are open to it, diversity can teach us that we are small pieces of a large vibrant, ever-changing world and that the small space we occupy is likely very different from what the rest of the world occupies. It can show us how to be more loving and inclusive of others, especially for those of us who hold privilege.
On a personal and professional level, I believe diversity is the purposeful inclusion of people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, and viewpoints. Corporate diversity doesn’t simply mesh new hires into a company’s culture, it expands and shapes it. It opens doors to new ideas and new growth.
How do you think diversity will impact your company in the short- and long-term?
If we create and fill spaces only with those who think, look, and act like us, we are capping our ability to learn and grow. We are maybe even building an echo chamber that constantly tells us our ideas are great and fails to point out our missteps.
Teams at high-growth startups are often sprouted from substantial privilege. Access to training to enable landing a job at a tech company is already hard to reach for most of the world, let alone access to computers and the internet. Yet the more diverse a team, the more space the team has to grow and dream and build. While we have substantial room to grow our diversity at Base, our existing team brings their varied experiences, beliefs, social, and ethnic backgrounds to the table and is in the process of creating something truly special.
What are some of your diversity goals over the next 24 months?
Our goals are always to hire team members who will grow our culture, not match it. This continues to get harder the faster we grow, so we are focusing on long-term relationships and strategies to build our network of diverse candidates now. The vast majority of applicants we receive for nearly every job we post is submitted by white males. If we don’t take the steps now and always to build a more diverse candidate pool, we’ll never build a happy, functioning diverse team.
Beyond partnering with InHerSight, what are some ways you’re already incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into your company’s growing culture?
I was raised in a fully white-centered world, as were a number of our team members. By engaging with ongoing learning (and unlearning) and building systems of checks to realize when we center whiteness in our own spaces, we are working to keep DEI efforts firmly rooted at the core of our culture. We are far, far from perfect or even satisfactory on most days; however, that doesn’t give us the right to not keep trying.