London – September 8, 2022 – Cooley is partnering with Libra, Tech Nation’s growth program for underrepresented tech business founders, for the second year since the initiative was established. Through Libra, Cooley and Tech Nation are promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and racial justice in the UK tech sector.
Launched in September 2021, Libra is the first program of its kind in the UK for tech startup leadership teams with at least one Black, South Asian, East Asian or Arab founder. Libra’s second cohort includes 35 companies, most of which are seed, pre-seed or have yet to raise their first funding rounds. As part of the partnership, Cooley provides the companies with practical guidance on securing institutional investments.
“We were hugely impressed by the first cohort of businesses in Libra’s inaugural program for underrepresented founders, and we are excited by the second group about to start this month,” said Chris Coulter, London-based Cooley partner and member of the firm’s diversity committee. “The quality of ideas and level of entrepreneurship we have seen are testament to the huge contribution to be made by the UK’s leading ethnic minority founders. We are proud to play a part in these startups’ journeys and to support the ongoing mission of Libra.”
Over six months, the 35 cohort companies will receive more than 60 hours of additional support as they benefit from mentoring by world-leading scale coaches on fundamental growth challenges – from fundraising to international expansion.
“Cooley’s advice to our Libra members on securing institutional funding was invaluable for them and we are looking forward to the help the firm will provide the programme’s next cohort of startups,” said Abi Mohamed, head of Libra at Tech Nation. “Promoting equity/inclusion and diversity is core to Cooley’s DNA and we are delighted with the firm’s continued and passionate support of Libra.”
Libra’s first programme saw two Black-founded startup companies (edtech firm Framework and HRtech firm Flair) raise seed funding within their first few months of joining, and six companies (Boxx, Compare Ethics, Eccobell, Framework, Ruka and Owni) awarded grants from the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.
DEI is embedded in Cooley’s culture, and the firm is dedicated to maintaining a 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 DEI 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, a nonprofit that connects and empowers Black venture capitalists; and Launch With GS Entrepreneur Cohort, a six-week program for Black and Latinx founders that is part of Goldman Sachs’ $1 billion diversity investment strategy.
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