Aiming to encourage diversity, Intel building on its commitment of investing $300 million over the next five years, has announced a $125 million investment program in startups run by women and minority sections of the society.
The fund, shepherded by Lisa Lambert, an African-American and a managing director at Intel Capital, has already taken steps in that direction.
She and her team have already spent $16.7 million on an initial four investments, including one company led by a woman. Brit Morin’s Brit & Co, an online San Francisco-based retailer sells do-it-yourself kits and tutorials. CareCloud, which provides cloud-based healthcare documentation services; Mark One, which makes a “smart cup” that recognizes beverage and nutritional content; and Venafi, a security company that provides tools to assess, fix and block keys and certificates are among the rest.
The move comes in the light of technology and IT firms facing strong criticism of having a predominantly white and male workforce, which some argue creates a climate that discourages women and minorities from aspiring to work in technology or sticking around. Increased diversity would lead to stronger, more innovative companies, the thinking goes.
Intel hopes that such an initiative can nurture a group of role models that in turn will encourage more minorities and women to aspire to work in technology startups. That will have twin benefits both for Intel and economy in general.