London – December 1, 2021 – Cooley has partnered with Libra, Tech Nation's growth program for underrepresented founders, to support and promote diversity, equity and inclusion and racial justice in the UK tech sector.
As the first program of its kind in the UK for tech startup leadership teams with at least one Black or multiracial founder, the Libra program – which launched in September 2021 – aims to provide access to capital, commercial opportunities and professional networks to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds who may face barriers and biases in these areas. The cohort will include 30 companies, most of which are seed or pre-seed or have yet to raise their first funding rounds. As part of the partnership, Cooley will offer the cohort practical guidance on securing institutional investments.
"With underrepresented founders facing a historic lack of access and a significant lack of diversity within venture capital, we are excited to partner with Libra as they drive change around how capital is allocated and accessed," said Chris Coulter, a London-based Cooley partner and member of the firm's diversity committee.
Over six months, the 30 cohort companies will also receive more than 60 hours of support as they benefit from mentoring by world-leading scale coaches on fundamental growth challenges – from fundraising to international expansion.
"I am confident Cooley's contribution will help underrepresented founders on their growth journey and provide vital support for these companies to take with them long after they complete the program," said Abi Mohamed, who leads the Libra program at Tech Nation. "As an international law firm, Cooley's experience promoting equality and diversity in a range of contexts strongly aligns with the aims and values of the Libra program."
Diversity is embedded in Cooley's culture, and the firm is dedicated to maintaining a truly diverse workplace that values and celebrates differences. Its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan sets forth specific objectives, metrics and actions to articulate and deliver on the firm's pledge to oppose racial injustice and address its deleterious effects.
Cooley's commitment to diversity extends to active and creative partnerships with clients and in local and national minority law organizations, diversity pipeline projects, law school diversity programs and community outreach. Some of Cooley's ecosystem partnerships include UK-based nonprofit Diversity VC, which promotes diversity in venture capital contexts through networks, recruitment and analysis; BLCK VC, which connects and empowers Black venture capitalists; and Launch with GS Entrepreneur Cohort, a six-week program for Black and Latinx founders as part of Goldman Sachs' $1 billion diversity investment strategy.