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Tech Industry

Kleiner Perkins gender diversity figures show more work needs to be done

Storied firm says it has more women venture capitalists than others in the industry, vows to improve.

Kleiner Perkins released its gender diversity snapshot Friday. It comes after the firm won a high-profile discrimination suit against former employee Ellen Pao. Yahoo

Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers released on Friday a snapshot of its gender diversity that repeats what it has been saying for months: Nearly half of its staff are women and a fifth of those are investing partners.

It also said more needs to be done.

"It's simply not good enough to say that [Silicon] Valley is a meritocracy, and that in the end talent wins out," general partner Beth Seidenberg wrote in a blog post accompanying the report. "For both social justice and business reasons, we need to take active steps to turn the tide when it comes to gender diversity."

Seidenberg cited a 2014 Babson College study that said just 6 percent of all venture capitalists are women. In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday, she called that statistic "pathetic."

Kleiner Perkins has been the center of attention on gender and diversity issues. A San Francisco jury in March rejected former junior partner Ellen Pao's claim that the firm sexually discriminated against her in 2012.

The firm released its figures a day after the judge who presided over the closely watched trial ruled that Pao must pay nearly $276,000 in legal fees and costs to the firm. Pao has filed a notice to appeal.

Seidenberg and fellow general partner John Doerr told Bloomberg TV on Thursday that their firm, despite winning, took a beating in the court of public opinion.

Kleiner Perkins' stats also come at a time when critics say gender bias pervades the tech industry, creating a culture that's hostile to women and minorities. Last year, most of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Twitter, Microsoft and Facebook, reported that the majority of their workforce is male and white.

Kleiner Perkins said it has nearly 80 employees and partners, and claims that figure makes it a leader in its field. It also said the share of women in its internship program rose to 32 percent this year from 5 percent in 2012. The firm said it will be adding data by ethnic background soon.

"We must improve the pipeline of diverse talent coming to tech companies," Seidenberg said.

She added that though Kleiner has made some progress on diversity, more needs to be done.

"Silicon Valley leads the world in innovation and economic opportunity -- we must lead on diversity as well," she said. "We will continue to advocate for -- and regularly report on -- diversity at our firm."