Women & The VC World
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In the white heat of the current tech market it’s sometimes easy to forget that some companies, although taking their time, simply become viable businesses – instead of waiting for a call from Facebook or Twitter that may never come. I’ve been covering web site and shop builder Moonfruit for longer than I care to remember (they launched in 2000), but along the way husband and wife team Joe and Wendy White kept on pushing the company until it was one of the most innovative of its kind out there. Today that hard work is rewarded in Moonfruit’s acquisition by directories giant Yell for $29 million (£18m) in cash.
"There's little correlation between a group's collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises," was the finding of a study published by the Harvard Business Review . The finding begs the question: Why do women continue to be under represented in the growing tech industry -- a space that continues to be both founded and funded overwhelmingly by men?
As a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers , Aileen Lee has been a part of one of the most well-respected and established venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. KPCB, of course, is known for making big bets companies that often turn out to be the tech industry’s brightest stars: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Zynga, and Groupon are j ust a tiny sample of the companies that Kleiner Perkins has backed. But after 13 years with the firm, Aileen Lee is shifting her focus in a very interesting way — she’s starting a new venture fund focused on smaller, “seed-stage” investments. In an interview with TechCrunch today, Lee said that many of the details of the fund are still being hashed out — so things like the fund’s name, how much total investment will be involved in it, who else may be involved, and so on are yet to be disclosed.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Aileen Lee is founding a new seed fund — still unnamed — that is focused on backing and helping develop early-stage start-ups. Lee, who has been at the famed Silicon Valley venture firm for a dozen years, will remain a partner at Kleiner Perkins, although her full focus will be on the fund. While she declined in an interview this morning to say what the size of the new fund will be, most such efforts range from $10 million to $70 million. Along with Kleiner, there will be several other unnamed investors and strategic partners, said Lee, who is in a quiet period of fundraising and could not give more details.
What do Gilt, Foodspotting and TaskRabbit all have in common?
I’m not much for the “women in tech” stuff — preferring to prove equality rather than beg for it — but sometimes the gender imbalance in this industry is so damaging that it would be unethical for me to not call it out. About a year ago, I wrote a blog post titled The Plain Numbers About Women in Tech , presenting the raw data to prove that the highest profile startups employ very few women, and moreover that the vast majority of women who do work for startups are in roles that involve selling the product, not making it .
I am not one to usually rant, but a study just released by Watermark , a non-profit community of executive women, and the University of California at Davis Graduate School of Management enraged me. It revealed that in California, among the 400 largest public companies, only 10 percent of board seats were held by women—and more than 33 percent had no women on their boards at all. This isn’t just a California problem, says Watermark CEO Marilyn Nagel. She points to a new study of Fortune 500 companies just released by Catalyst showing women hold only 16.1 percent of board seats, and 10 percent have no women on their boards. This shouldn’t be the case in a world where women make 85 percent of household purchasing decisions, and hold 51 percent of the country’s private wealth, says Nigel.
When Ellie Cachette started pitching her tech start-up to West Coast investors two years ago, she expected to raise big bucks. Instead, all she got from the roughly 25 all-male investors she met with were dismissive looks and patronizing advice. “I wouldn’t even finish my sentence, and they’d say I should be a nonprofit,” said Cachette, now 26, who was building a startup designed to help companies manage product recalls. “I found it impossible to raise money.” So Cachette made a bold decision: She headed to New York to test the waters of the city’s burgeoning tech scene.
Report: Women-owned or Led Firms are Becoming a Leading Entrepreneurial force in Technology : The Next Women"New research shows what many have long suspected: women entrepreneurs are poised to lead the next wave of growth in global technology ventures. Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures This is conclusion from the very thorough research on entrepreneurial women in tech, called High Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High Tech , performed by a team led by founder and CEO Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures , a venture fund that focuses on women led companies.
Posted by Tom Foremski - August 7, 2011
Female entrepreneurs seeking investors know the difficulty of crashing through that funding glass ceiling.
By Russ Garland
By Gina Bianchini, guest contributor
Yeah, I love being famous.
At the 2011 IGNITION conference in New York , Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talked about what it's like being one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley.