Imperial College London

Imperial student and alumnus join Fellowship aiming to transform venture capital

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A cartoon representing venture capital

Rohan Khanna and Ahmed Deyab have been selected from thousands of applicants for a Fellowship seeking to diversify the venture capital industry.

Included VC is the first of its kind global Fellowship for individuals from diverse communities, providing access and opportunities in the world of venture capital, a form of investment for early-stage, innovative startup businesses with strong growth potential.  

Rohan Khanna, currently studying an MSc in Security and Resilience in Imperial’s Department of Physics, has recently secured one of 45 places on the Fellowship, following a competitive application process involving over 3,000 applicants.

Recent graduate Ahmed Deyab, who completed Imperial’s MSc in Advanced Computational Methods for Aeronautics in the Department of Aeronautics, is also a Fellow in the 2021 cohort.

He recently secured two roles in the venture capital industry: one with Atomico, a toptier venture capital firm co-founded by the founder of Skype, and one with Neuberger Berman, a private equity Fund of Funds (a pooled fund that invests in other funds). 

The Fellowship was co-founded by Nikita Thakrar, previously Innovation & Entrepreneurship Manager at Imperial. 

Lack of diversity 

An ethnicity survey of 223 UK venture capitalists, carried out by non-profit organisation Diversity VC, suggests that only 24% of the venture capital workforce are from ethnic minority groups. The organisation also surveyed 171 active venture capital firms in the UK in 2019, finding that just 30% of venture capital staff are women.

We fundamentally believe that diversity (in all forms) and inclusion is one of the most vital issues VC must tackle in collaboration as one global ecosystem. Nikita Thakrar Co-founder of Included VC

While the percentage of women venture capitalists has increased over the last two years, they remain under-represented at senior levels, with 83% of firms having no women on their investment committees. Systemic disadvantages continue to prevent capable people from accessing the world of venture capital. 

The team behind Included VC say this lack of diversity within the investment ecosystem directly impacts the innovation that reaches the market.  

Speaking to Sifted, Nikita said: “Our vision is that there is no longer a need for Included VC to exist after a decade has passed. We fundamentally believe that diversity (in all forms) and inclusion is one of the most vital issues VC must tackle in collaboration as one global ecosystem.” 

The 2021 Included VC cohort

Driving change 

The fully funded Fellowship comprises masterclasses, mentoring, foundational learning, coaching, simulation investment committees and in-person retreats (COVID-19 restrictions dependent). Those accepted onto the Fellowship through a blind application process are entrepreneurial, passionate about technology and interested in the potential for venture capital funding to drive change on a larger scale. The 2021 fellows, the Fellowship’s second cohort, include 25 nationalities and are from 31 European cities, 52% of the cohort are women and more than 80% are from ethnic minority groups.  

The Fellowship is supported and funded collaboratively by an international consortium of Venture Capital Partners and Sponsors including: Creandum, Daphni, HSBC Ventures, KAYA, K Fund, Mangrove Capital, M12 - Microsoft's Venture Fund, Notion Capital, Seedcamp, Mouro Capital and Wilson Sonsini.  

Reporter

Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3970
Email: joanna.wilson@imperial.ac.uk

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Engineering-Aeronautics, Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, Entrepreneurship, Careers, Alumni, Comms-strategy-Inclusive-community, Enterprise, Equality, Student-entrepreneurship
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