One of the Perhaps the most pressing issues the US needs to prepare for is the future it faces after the overthrow of Roe v. Wade.
When the midterm elections come around, voters will weigh in on the candidates and, consequently, the measures that will dictate access to abortion and other human rights issues. The role that venture capital must play in all of this is becoming clear: There has been a push to fund more reproductive health companies, include access to healthcare in ESG investments, and reevaluate the safest places to open a business. business for employed women.
To get a clearer picture of what lies ahead, TechCrunch+ surveyed eight investors and learned what they think the role of venture firms should be in a post-Roe world. McKeever Conwell, the founder of RareBreed Ventures, pointed out the tenuous relationship between venture capital and ethics. He said that while there are some who don’t care about human rights issues in relation to investment, he wants to double funding for startups focused on reproductive health.
Theodora Lau, the founder of Unconventional Ventures, said she thinks more venture capitalists should take political stands on the issues. “Access to health is a right; it’s not politics,” she said. “These are existential questions that should concern us all, regardless of our role.”
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“Where legislation continues to lag behind, it’s important for technology to take a proactive stance to bring transparency to current and future innovations and mitigate the kinds of risks we see today.” Hessie Jones, Partner, MATR Ventures
In the meantime, hessie jones, a partner at MATR Ventures, said the due diligence process needs to be deepened to identify the risks of developing new technologies. “Due diligence must expand beyond the point of the founder’s ‘intentions’. We have to ask ourselves: What is the potential that this technology can be used for other use cases beyond its current intent? What is the imminent risk to individuals or groups?”
Finally, almost everyone we spoke to is keeping an eye out for changes that could happen in November. “Vote,” Lau said. “With your voice, with your action and with your wallet.”
We spoke with:
- Hessie Jones, Partner, MATR Ventures
- Lisa Calhoun, Gary Peat and William Leonard, Valor Ventures
- Mecca Tartt, CEO, Startup Runway
- Ed Zimmerman, Founding Partner, First Close Partners
- Theodora Lau, Founder, Unconventional Ventures
- McKeever Conwell, Founder, RareBreed Ventures
Hessie Jones, Partner, MATR Ventures
What was your initial response to the Roe capsize? What other impacts has the Roe overturn had on your business and investment strategy?
I grew up in the Catholic system, which vehemently opposed abortion and a woman’s right to decide what to do with her own body. I’m also Canadian, and our abortion and mother’s rights laws are very different from the US.
The decision in Dobbs v. Implying the rights referenced in the 14th Amendment, specifically, a woman’s right to privacy under the “due process clause,” which affirmed her right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, Jackson’s Women’s Health leaves vulnerable all civil rights precedents. to be dumped.
The alleged misreading of the 14th Amendment in this opinion turns back the clock when it comes to rights that women have been fighting for years.
Where legislation continues to lag behind, it’s important for technology to take a proactive stance to bring transparency to current and future innovations and mitigate the kinds of risks we see today: exposure of personal information, data surveillance, and use of personal information that ultimately instance will inflict harm on individuals and groups.
This is already happening, and has now made its way into communities where reproductive data is being leveraged against data subjects.
Will Dobbs’ decision affect the criteria you use to conduct due diligence?
Absolutely! Apps that have been used to help women, such as Flow, Glowing and Cue, can be armed with warrants to identify those who are seeking or may be seeking abortions. The data collected by these applications and Big Tech may be sold, violated or acquired by government orders without regard to the rights of the subject.
Due diligence must expand beyond the point of the founder’s “intentions.” We have to ask ourselves: What is the potential that this technology can be used for other use cases beyond its current intent? What is the imminent risk to individuals or groups? In addition, we must, at a minimum, require privacy-by-design standards and the security of the infrastructure that acquires personal data.
We need to examine the intentions of the founders, how the data will be used, who the partners are, to what extent the data will be shared, and for what purposes. We have reached a dangerous crossroads where technology has contributed to causing harm, and now we must hold founders accountable to be more accountable for what they are building.