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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Industry Veteran Tracy Barba Leads World’s First Institute Focused on Applied Venture Ethics

Tracy Barba, Director of Venture and Equity Ethics

Tracy Barba, Director of Venture and Equity Ethics

As a leader in the world of venture ethics and ESG, Tracy Barba has a unique skill set that lends itself to her newest position as director of venture and equity ethics at the Ethics Center. Her position coincides with the creation and launch of the Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics, the first and only institute focused solely on the study and promotion of applied venture ethics.

Don Heider, executive director of the Ethics Center, had a great deal of praise for Barba, saying “With nearly two decades spent in venture capital, impact investing, private equity, and social finance, Tracy is remarkably knowledgeable in this area, and is the perfect person to help us launch this new program.”

Barba is the founder of ESG4VC, a nonprofit advancing ESG policies and practices in venture capital. Previously she was the head of ESG at 500 Global and prior to that she led investor development for Bamboo Capital Partners, a private equity impact fund investing in financial services, renewable energy, and healthcare sectors across more than 30 emerging and frontier market countries. Before that, Barba led public affairs at Social Finance US, the firm behind the Social Impact Bond. She was also the West Coast executive director of Golden Seeds, a 275-member investor network investing in women-led companies. She started her career with venture funds in Silicon Valley, where she was director of marketing and strategic relations for VantagePoint Venture Partners. These experiences will provide her with a background perfectly suited to excel in her new role. 

With respect to her new position and its placement in the broader ethical landscape, Barba said, “2021 was a record-breaking year for venture capital investment in technology, and 2022 proved to be a watershed year for tech breakthroughs (generative AI and crypto, among others) and challenges with broad societal impacts (FTX). These events highlight an opportunity to look at venture capital's governing principles and values. I’m excited about the opportunity to combine the expertise of the Markkula Center with the VC community's potential to enhance human flourishing while addressing the evolving risks and challenges that rapid innovation poses.”

The Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics, made possible through a grant from the Lucas Brothers Foundation, will engage investors and entrepreneurs throughout Silicon Valley and around the world through the creation of a collaborative space for individuals to explore how to harness the power of investing and innovation to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world. In addition to producing a set of guidelines for venture capital and private equity investors, the Institute will establish a comprehensive training program for startups around ethical innovation.

The Ethics Center is happy to welcome Tracy Barba to its community and the Santa Clara University community as a whole. The Ethics Center also looks forward to the work she and the Lucas Institute for Venture Ethics will contribute to the ethical landscape and the new and exciting perspectives that will come from this initiative.

Feb 21, 2023


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