13 October 2020
Unsplash © Markus Spiske

Towards greater transparency in venture capital

Glassdoor changed the jobs market by showcasing anonymous reviews from former and current employees. Will this new platform have the same effect on the venture capital ecosystem?

Job review site Glassdoor launched in 2007 – into a world where what went on in the office, stayed in the office. Over a decade of workplace reviews (and of Tweets, Facebook posts, and other social media callouts) later, that world is pretty much unimaginable. And despite fears over libellous claims from disgruntled ex-employees, this seems to have been a good thing. HR departments know exactly where their companies are going wrong, and face real pressure to make improvements quickly. 

While Glassdoor has been making headlines in recent months for its list of highest-rated CEOs during COVID-19 and its decision to publish diversity and inclusion ratings, Joe Perkins has been hard at work applying the tried-and-tested model elsewhere. His target? The venture capital ecosystem. 

The fruit of Joe’s labour, Landscape, launches today. Inspired by his own experiences raising money for a previous venture in EdTech, the review platform looks set to shake up a fairly opaque industry. Joe comments: 

“We had been pitching a bunch of investors and I’d been really interested to see how the quality of interaction varied so greatly from each fund. We had one interaction in particular with a London-based fund that ended up being a real time waster, and I remember thinking “I wish I had a mechanism to warn future founders!”

Landscape, which has accumulated 700 verified reviews and 83 verified partners since launching in beta, will allow founders to leave feedback on their experiences with VC firms and accelerator programmes. Joe’s hope is that it will “empower founders to share their fundraising interactions for the good of the community” therefore providing both visibility to founders and accountability to investors. Founders will be able to determine the firms whose ethos does not align with their own, and bad actors will be prompted to change their conduct. 

Score factors for VCs range from approachability to punctuality, while accelerators are ranked according to factors like response time, cohort quality, and post programme support. Do these questions need asking? Check Warner, cofounder of Diversity VC and a partner at Ada Ventures, thinks so: 

“The VC and accelerator landscape is regularly called out due to bad actors or for not doing enough to be more inclusive. There are some great organisations already working with firms to make things better, but data is incredibly important and founders often feel powerless when raising money in the beginning.” 

“Landscape’s platform not only provides much-needed transparency for everyone, levels the field, and means investors will have to take consistent and sustained action rather than provide lip service, or a one-off.  Even better – investors will have more insight into how founders perceive them and have the insights they need to improve.”

Landscape is free for founders and charges investors and programmes to access further features, such as the ability to respond to reviews, and see where they need to improve. It has the early support of big names in the industry, from Alex Depledge MBE, Founder and CEO of Resi to Emma Sinclair MBE, cofounder of Enterprise Alumni. 

Discover Landscape