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Alliance of VCs commit to helping portfolio companies set aside stock for social impact on path to IPO; $1B in new philanthropy already ignited in the last year by companies like Coinbase, UiPath, and Unity

 

(San Francisco, Calif. – June 8, 2021) — Pledge 1%, a global movement to inspire, educate, and empower all companies to leverage their assets for good, today announced the launch of Boardroom Allies. The founding group of top venture capitalists (VCs) have committed to unlocking $5 billion in new philanthropy over the next five years by partnering with Pledge 1% to advise their portfolio companies on how to set aside equity for social impact prior to their liquidity events. Amidst a heightened focus on the role businesses play in fostering societal change, Boardroom Allies will play a pivotal role in ushering in a new era of corporate giving.

 

“This past year, we’ve seen more companies demonstrate that they have an important role to play in tackling the toughest challenges of our time. Shareholder, employee, and customer expectations are changing. It’s exciting to see business leaders step up to meet this moment by leveraging their assets to address pressing social, environmental, and racial justice issues. Doing so is not only the right thing to do; it’s also a business imperative,” said Laela Sturdy, General Partner at CapitalG and Board Member of UiPath.

 

“We’re seeing a new trend of companies setting aside equity prior to an exit to sustainably fund their social impact and ESG efforts for years to come,” said Neeraj Agrawal, General Partner at Battery Ventures. “By providing equity model standards, a definitive CEO playbook, and experienced consultation, Pledge 1% has been fueling this trend.” 

With the support of Pledge 1%, many of the most successful exits of the last year, including Coinbase, Digital Ocean, Olo, UiPath, and Unity Technologies have committed equity for good on the road to their IPOs, joining industry leaders driving the Pledge 1% movement such as Atlassian, DocuSign, Twilio, Okta, Salesforce, Slack, PagerDuty, Upwork, and Zuora. Many top pre-IPO companies such as Canva, Guild Education, Crunchbase, and Puppet have also made the commitment. Collectively, their equity pledges have already ignited billions of dollars in social impact funds. 

 

Recognizing that standards and best practices optimized by company stage were required to streamline the equity pledge process, Pledge 1% developed a step-by-step guide for companies to formalize equity pledges: the CEO Playbook and a Companion Guide for CFOs and GCs. A key strategy outlined in the CEO Equity Playbook is finding and leveraging a boardroom ally to serve as a thought partner to the CEO as he/she navigates equity model selection, timing, and building a coalition of board support.  

 

As the Pledge 1% team accelerated efforts to help venture-backed companies set aside equity prior to their liquidity events, VC board members became not only powerful partners in helping CEOs, but also catalysts of the movement, encouraging other portfolio companies to formalize equity pledges as well.  Thus, Boardroom Allies was born as a vehicle for VCs to advocate for change. 

 

“Boardroom Allies is a first-of-its-kind alliance of forward-thinking investors from top VC firms who’ve committed to helping companies set aside equity for social impact — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s also a smart business decision,” said Amy Lesnick, President and CEO of Pledge 1%. “The launch of this program represents a major milestone in our goal of empowering all companies to leverage their assets for good, and gets us one step closer toward a world where setting aside equity for social impact is the norm.” 

 

“Working with Pledge 1% to make an equity commitment makes sense on many levels,” said Seth Levine, Partner at Foundry Group. “Setting aside pre-IPO stock for social impact should be a standard business practice to strengthen employee engagement and build purpose into a company’s DNA. As a founding Boardroom Ally, I encourage other VCs to join this coalition and CEOs to reach out to Pledge 1% and their board members for the support to make this a reality.” 

 

“CEOs of late stage companies are sometimes cautious to propose an equity pledge to their Boards. However, from our perspective, this is increasingly a natural step in IPO readiness,” said Byron Deeter, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “We imagine a future in which an equity pledge could be part of every significant technology S1 filing as customers, employees, and investors put increasing value on how companies show up as corporate citizens.”

As part of its launch, Boardroom Allies is announcing the following founding members:

 

*Directly advised/supported and/or currently supporting portfolio company to set aside equity

 

Name Firm Equity commitments within firm portfolio
Andrew Braccia* Accel Atlassian, Code42, DocuSign, Lookout, PagerDuty, Slack, UiPath
Richard Wong* Accel Atlassian, Code42, DocuSign, Lookout, PagerDuty, Slack, UiPath
John O’Farrell* Andreessen Horowitz Coinbase, DigitalOcean, Lookout, Okta, PagerDuty, Slack
Ajay Agarwal* Bain Capital Ventures AvidXchange, DocuSign, Gainsight, SendGrid
Enrique Salem* Bain Capital Ventures AvidXchange, DocuSign, Gainsight, SendGrid
Matt Harris* Bain Capital Ventures AvidXchange, DocuSign, Gainsight, SendGrid
Chelsea Stoner Battery Ventures Coinbase, Gainsight, Olo
Neeraj Agrawal* Battery Ventures Coinbase, Gainsight, Olo
Roger Lee* Battery Ventures Coinbase, Gainsight, Olo
Chetan Puttagunta Benchmark Upwork, Yelp, Zuora
Eric Vishria Benchmark Upwork, Yelp, Zuora
Miles Grimshaw Benchmark Upwork, Yelp, Zuora
Peter Fenton* Benchmark Upwork, Yelp, Zuora
Sarah Tavel Benchmark Upwork, Yelp, Zuora
Byron Deeter* Bessemer Venture Partners Auth0, Canva, Gainsight, Guild Education, PagerDuty, SendGrid, Twilio, Vlocity, Yelp
Ethan Kurzweil* Bessemer Venture Partners Auth0, Canva, Gainsight, Guild Education, PagerDuty, SendGrid, Twilio, Vlocity, Yelp
Kent Bennett* Bessemer Venture Partners Auth0, Canva, Gainsight, Guild Education, PagerDuty, SendGrid, Twilio, Vlocity, Yelp
Niki Scevak* Blackbird Ventures Canva
Laela Sturdy* CapitalG UiPath
Aileen Lee Cowboy Ventures Crunchbase, Guild Education
Seth Miller Fearless Ventures Not publicly disclosed
Mike Jung Founders Circle Capital Auth0, DocuSign, Gainsight, Twilio
Brad Feld* Foundry Group AvidXchange; Crucible Acquisition Corp. I, II, and III; Rally Software; SendGrid
Ryan Mcintyre* Foundry Group AvidXchange; Crucible Acquisition Corp. I, II, and III; Rally Software; SendGrid
Seth Levine* Foundry Group AvidXchange; Crucible Acquisition Corp. I, II, and III; Rally Software; SendGrid
Philipp Stauffer* FYRFLY Venture Partners SendGrid, Twilio, Altoida, Mobi, Beekeeper
Julie Maples* FYRFLY Venture Partners SendGrid, Twilio, Altoida, Mobi, Beekeeper
Kim Moore Glynn Capital DocuSign, Okta, Slack, Zuora
Jackie Glynn Glynn Capital DocuSign, Okta, Slack, Zuora
David Glynn Glynn Capital DocuSign, Okta, Slack, Zuora
Doug Pepper* ICONIQ Capital DocuSign, Guild Education, Pluralsight, Skilljar
Alda Leu Dennis Initialized Capital Coinbase
Andrew Lee Initialized Capital Coinbase
Brett Gibson Initialized Capital Coinbase
Garry Tan* Initialized Capital Coinbase
Jen Wolf Initialized Capital Coinbase
Kim Mai-Cutler Initialized Capital Coinbase
Somesh Dash Institutional Venture Partners Coinbase, Slack, UiPath
Pete Solvik* Jackson Square Ventures DocuSign, Upwork
Rajeev Batra* Mayfield Fund Crunchbase, Skilljar, SmartRecruiters
Rishi Garg Mayfield Fund Crunchbase, Skilljar, SmartRecruiters
Tim Chang Mayfield Fund Crunchbase, Skilljar, SmartRecruiters
Peter Sonsini New Enterprise Associates Code42, Salesforce, Upwork
Rick Yang New Enterprise Associates Code42, Salesforce, Upwork
Dave Zilberman Norwest Venture Partners Not publicly disclosed
Tim Connors* PivotNorth Capital Cloud Apartments, Stremium
Jeff Brody Redpoint Guild Education, Twilio, Zuora
Scott Raney* Redpoint Guild Education, Twilio, Zuora
Alex Kayyal Salesforce Ventures Auth0, Crunchbase, DocuSign, Gainsight, Guild Education, Twilio, Vlocity, SmartRecruiters
John Somorjai* Salesforce Ventures Auth0, Crunchbase, DocuSign, Gainsight, Guild Education, Twilio, Vlocity, SmartRecruiters
Matthew Garratt* Salesforce Ventures Auth0, Crunchbase, DocuSign, Gainsight, Guild Education, Twilio, Vlocity, SmartRecruiters
Ron Conway* SV Angel Coinbase, Crunchbase, Lookout, Okta, PagerDuty, Slack, Twilio, Upwork, Weebly
David Yuan* Tidemark Not publicly disclosed
David Cohen* Techstars DigitalOcean, SendGrid, Twilio
Jason Seats Techstars DigitalOcean, SendGrid, Twilio
Nicole Glaros Techstars DigitalOcean, SendGrid, Twilio
David Pakman Venrock Not publicly disclosed

 

To download Pledge 1%’s CEO Equity Playbook and Companion Guide for CFOs and GCs, visit P1.equity/today. To learn more about how to set aside social impact at your company or join this alliance of top VCs as a Boardroom Ally, email allies@pledge1percent.org or visit pledge1percent.org.

 

About Pledge 1%: Pledge 1% is a global movement that inspires, educates, and empowers every entrepreneur, company, and employee to be a force for good. Over 12,000 members in 100 countries around the world have used Pledge 1%’s flexible framework to ignite billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours in new philanthropy. To learn more about Pledge 1%, and how your company can get involved, visit pledge1percent.org.