A record amount of capital is fueling private tech as investments in emerging technology companies grow at a faster rate and with more generous early-stage seed funding than ever before. This wave of unprecedented investment promises to remake the infrastructure of how we live, work, and play over the coming decade. Too often, venture capital (VC) firms mirror the diversity and quarterly challenges well documented in other areas of Big Tech where an elite, homogeneous group of founders and investors with short-term growth priorities continue to define the field. Many serious and well-documented harms are a direct byproduct of the past 20 years of technology investments—algorithmic bias, misinformation, loss of personal privacy, mental health concerns, reduced labor standards, and many others. Unchecked, tech companies have the power to disproportionately define, perpetuate, or exacerbate existing racial, gender, social-economic, and labor inequities.

To disrupt these trends it is imperative for philanthropy, impact investors, ESG investors, and forward-thinking venture capitalists (VCs) to collaborate to reshape the future of the private sector. This is just one reason why it’s vital to invest in the next generation of tech companies that seek to embrace a more “public interest” approach to innovation, either by adopting more responsible, stakeholder-driven approaches and business models or by focusing more explicitly on social impact.

For mission-driven investors, as well as philanthropy, early involvement and exploration of blended capital models to support a new generation of public interest-focused tech companies are not only urgent but possible. Here are five ways to help create an early-stage funding ecosystem that will result in a more equitable and sustainable private sector:

  1. Develop the capacity to deploy early-stage social impact capital, making capital available to BIPOC and women founders in particular.
  2. Demand more as limited partners from traditional VC funds.
  3. Create a community of investors, advocates, and technologists to accelerate success.
  4. Support emerging BIPOC and women fund managers, both by becoming LPs and helping create a cross-sector community to inform and discuss the potential social, economic, and racial implications of technology in society.
  5. Learn from accelerators.

Read the full article about public interest tech by Lyel Resner and Wilneida Negron at Stanford Social Innovation Review.