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Leveraging Diversity to Build Thriving Companies with Mintz’s Thomas R. Burton, III and Deepak Jayaraman of Antler

Tom Burton: Having a global presence means you have to be, by almost nature, inclusive as an organization and if you miss that strategic element, you’re not going to be able effectively optimize your returns. But I’d love to hear from your views.

Deepak Jayaraman: One hundred percent. I think that just from the diversity perspective it’s—apart from it just being the right thing to do, it’s just bad business practice to limit the source of your ideas to one narrow segment of the population. That’s just not smart, it’s also not the right thing to do, and it doesn’t create or lay the foundation for the best ideas. I’ll say this, it’s not just the best ideas, but it’s the best ability to execute on those ideas. Having a great idea is all well and good but if you don’t have the right team to execute on it and bring to life and bring it to value then the idea is sort of irrelevant. We’re very proud on this point. So, again our scale allows us to work with every nationality on the planet. If you look at our founder base, they come from literally everywhere. It’s not necessarily geographically limited, for example, in our southeast Asia cohorts, you find plenty of examples of a German cofounder meeting a Vietnamese cofounder and off building a company together - It’s not just limited to that particular jurisdiction. So that’s really exciting. I think that we’re really proud of the fact that again, to focus on really good business sense, that a significant proportion of our founder base and our portfolio companies are led by women CEOs. We take pride in that. They’re some of our best founders out there and whether they are the actual CEO in the business or they’re cofounders, our statistics are something like one third of our companies are in that space with management teams that are women led or at least partially. Again, very important and it’s just good business and it’s exciting to see that. We obviously, depending on where you are in the world, the idea of diversity and inclusion can be different. In some countries, candidly being Caucasian, you’re a minority just because of where you are. You have to be careful about how you slice and dice some of those statistics such that they’re not just from a purely western bias point of view. But I think we’re making strides and I think we’re really proud of it. The other thing I would tell you is that I don’t think that we need to debate the business imperative for DEI and ESG and things like that.