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Pledge 1% Launches Boardroom Allies with Top Venture Capitalists to Unlock Billions in Corporate Philanthropy and Usher in a New Era of Social Impact

·7 min read

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

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 Equity Playbook and a Companion Guide for CFOs and GCs. A key strategy outlined in the CEO Playbook is finding and leveraging a boardroom ally to serve as a thought partner to the CEO as he or 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

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

Rishi Garg

Mayfield Fund

Crunchbase, Skilljar

Tim Chang

Mayfield Fund

Crunchbase, Skilljar

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

John Somorjai*

Salesforce Ventures

Auth0, Crunchbase, DocuSign, Gainsight, Guild Education, Twilio, Vlocity

Matthew Garratt*

Salesforce Ventures

Auth0, Crunchbase, DocuSign, Gainsight, Guild Education, Twilio, Vlocity

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

David Pakman

Venrock

Not publicly disclosed

To download Pledge 1%’s CEO Equity Playbook and Companion Guide for CFOs and GCs, visit pledge1percent.org/equityplaybook. 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.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210608005464/en/

Contacts

Martha Shaughnessy
Pledge1percent@thekeypr.com