Organization Analysis: Diversity and Inclusion at PitchBook

Organization: PitchBook

Location: Seattle, WA


 

PitchBook is a financial data and software company headquartered in Seattle, WA. It was founded in 2006 and currently has around a thousand employees. The platform provides data on millions of companies, deals, investors, and funds, and it allows customers to network, fundraise, execute deals, grow businesses, and more.


 

What is the organization’s mission statement?


PitchBook’s mission statement, included in the ‘about’ section of their website, reads as follows:


"It all started with seven people working in a 200-square-foot, windowless office. Founder John Gabbert was pursuing an idea his former employer nixed—a database that covered private equity. In 2009, we launched PitchBook Desktop. With each new dataset and feature, we‘ve expanded and improved. Now, PitchBook tracks every aspect of the public and private equity markets, including venture capital, private equity and M&A. Our focus has always been—and will always be—our clients. What data matters most to them? What would make their jobs easier? How can we help them make informed decisions? Now part of Morningstar, we continue to give our clients the data and tools they need to be successful."


PitchBook has also shared its core company values in which it aims to create a great company and team culture. The Founder and CEO of PitchBook, John Gabbert, talks about the company culture and lists the values in a short video included on the company website.


PitchBook Values:

o Customers are king

o Excellence as a state of mind

o Embrace and drive change

o Focus on Focus

o Make it fun


These values reveal PitchBook’s focus on providing the best work for its clients and customers, as well as creating an engaging and fun work environment for its employees.


 

How does PitchBook portray its treatment of LGBTQ+ employees, clients, and customers?


The portrayal of their treatment and support for LGBTQ+ employees, clients, and the community as a whole appears to be positive and celebratory. The company presents itself as inclusive and welcoming to LGBTQ+ employees, and they have showcased their celebrations on social media. However, many of their efforts seem to be more performative rather than taking true action.


During pride month in 2019, PitchBook employees participated in a pride parade while representing their company (See below). Simply walking in a parade isn’t enough, however, I believe this does clearly show their support for the community. They showcased their logo on a pride flag, suggesting they welcome the association between the LGBTQ+ and their company, and are very open about their support for the community. This could also just be a great marketing strategy to drive more customers to their platform.





In another one of PitchBook’s Instagram posts, they shared an image of what seems to be a team gathering with rainbow decorations and food (See below). The caption stated that the team gathers during pride month to “reflect, celebrate, and show [their] support for the LGBTQ+ community” (@pitchbookdata, 2020). It’s great to have these discussions within a company, but what comes out of these meetings is what matters. Aside from eating rainbow cupcakes, what benefits does this meeting provide, and what are the outcomes?





Finally, PitchBook has published several articles with storylines surrounding LGBTQ+. However, I noticed that these articles discuss more what other companies are doing for the community rather than what PitchBook is doing itself. One article, written by Reanna Zuniga, highlighted 33 names of LGBTQ+ founders, entrepreneurs, investors, and venture capitalists. I was pleased to find this article and see their efforts to recognize and share important names within the VC industry who are part of the community. Seeing as PitchBook has such a large platform, they have the ability to get these important names in the industry the recognition they deserve. The article states that LGBTQ+ founders are estimated to receive less than 1% of VC funding and “more than a third of founders choose to keep their sexual orientation hidden while fundraising” (Zuniga, 2021). Promoting the names of several LGBTQ+ founders is the least they can do to help tackle this significant issue.


 

Bottom line: would I want to work here?


This is an interesting question; would I want to work for this company? If I was in the venture capital and fundraising industry, then yes, I would look into working here. First of all, PitchBook is a successful company and has been given ten of the best workplace awards in 2022. These awards include; Best National Companies to Work For, Seattle Best Places to Work, Seattle Best Benefits, and more (PitchBook, 2022). These are clear indicators of a good work environment. In addition, the look and feel of an office space is an important factor to consider when looking for a place to work, and the PitchBook office in downtown Seattle looks great; it’s visually pleasing, open, and inviting.


PitchBook has a lot of work to do to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity in their workplace, however, their effort to grow and improve is notable. Many of the issues they face are industry-wide problems, but I did notice a clear lack of diversity among their own employees. A lack of representation in leadership can make a big impact on the entire company and the actions they take for their employees. If the leadership does not reflect the team or the population they are serving, unfair treatment may occur. Out of the 10 names on the leadership team, 8 are men, 2 are women, and all 10 are white (See below).


If I were to work at PitchBook, I would be adding an LGBTQ+ woman to their team, but I would also be adding yet another white face to a predominantly white company directory.


 

Concluding reflections:


I have used the PitchBook platform in the past for work purposes, but I had never looked into the company’s values. I was pleasantly surprised by their company culture and an enthusiastic-looking team of employees. I did find a lot of evidence that shows their support for an inclusive team and clientele in a short amount of time, but not as much as I would have liked. I wasn’t able to locate a cultural or diversity statement from them on their website or from Google. When you search for Amazon or Microsoft’s diversity statements, they come up immediately. When running the same search for PitchBook, you are shown a full page of links to their articles that contain the word diversity, but no official statements. To know the company’s stance on the matter, I had to look through their social media pages. Despite this, I find their blog to be a great source of information. Each article is very informative and interesting, and it’s a great way to educate people in the industry.


PitchBook also has a podcast called In Visible Capital with PitchBook which includes a great hour-long episode discussing race and the importance of diversity in tech, fin-tech, venture capital firms, etc. This is another great resource for insightful information on the topic of equality.



Finally, I discovered PitchBook has a volunteer group known as “PitchBook Cares” which volunteers at various organizations with the goal of giving back to the community (Indeed, n.d.). It would be great for them to volunteer at organizations that specifically help minorities, the LGBTQ community, or small black, indigenous, or LGBTQ-owned businesses. This is just a thought-- whether they have or haven’t already done this is not to my knowledge.



In conclusion, I do believe PitchBook values diversity and supports the LGBTQ+ community, but there is a lot of room for improvement, beginning with having a more diverse team. It is important to keep in mind that what is seen online may not necessarily be true. Their true motives are unknown, so I must make my judgement based on what is available on the internet. As the article Queering Control and Inclusion in the Contemporary Organization: On ‘LGBT-friendly control’ and the reproduction of (queer) value states, there is the possibility that the motives for advocating for inclusion in the workplace are primarily financial or for organizational productivity and motivation (Burchiellaro, 2021). Better job satisfaction leads to greater engagement, productivity, motivation, and mood, and a reduction in stress, burnout, absenteeism, and turnover. We are more likely to be satisfied with our workplace if we feel welcomed, supported, and respected. The employees are what bring success to an organization, so the more satisfied they are, the better for the company.



 

References


About us: Our story & executive team. PitchBook. (n.d.). Retrieved from

https://pitchbook.com/about


Burchiellaro, O. (2021). Queering Control and Inclusion in the Contemporary Organization:

On ‘LGBT-friendly control’ and the reproduction of (queer) value. Organization Studies, 42(5), 761-785. Retrieved from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0170840620944557


Davis, A. (Host). (2021, February 26). Let’s talk about race [Audio podcast episode]. In In

visible capital with PitchBook. PitchBook. https://open.spotify.com/episode/3VMBl46nvJ1t149PX4irbX?si=gEyl7yngSiGvZA0czLCWUQ


Indeed. (n.d.). PitchBook Mission, Benefits, and Work Culture. Indeed. Retrieved from

https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Pitchbook-Data/about


PitchBook [@pitchbookdata]. (2020, June 16). June is Pride Month and in a normal year our

PitchBook team would be gathering together to reflect, celebrate and [Photograph]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CBgS-xFATFy/?utm_medium=copy_lin


PitchBook [@pitchbookdata]. (2020, June 4). PitchBook stands in solidarity with the black

community against racism, hate and injustice. We are committed to listening, learning and [Photograph]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CBCE6Cbgp9k/?utm_medium=copy_link


PitchBook [@pitchbookdata]. (2020, June 24). LGBTQ+ people have had an unmeasured

impact on the world—and the same is true within our industry of VC [Photograph]. Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CB029ybgHTs/?utm_medium=copy_link


PitchBook. (2022, January 10). PitchBook recognized by built in for ten of the 2022 best

workplace awards. PitchBook. Retrieved from https://pitchbook.com/media/press-releases/pitchbook-recognized-by-built-in-for-ten-of-the-2022-best-workplace-awards


Welbourne, Theresa M, Rolf, Skylar, & Schlachter, Steven. (2017). The case for employee

resource groups. Personnel Review, 46(8), 1816-1834. Retrieved from: https://www-emerald-com.proxy.lib.odu.edu/insight/content/doi/10.1108/PR-01-2016-0004/full/html#sec004


Zuniga, R. (2021, June 22). 33 LGBTQ+ founders, entrepreneurs and VCS you should know.

PitchBook. Retrieved from https://pitchbook.com/blog/lgbtq-founders-entrepreneurs-and-vcs-you-should-know