I was recently asked to speak at two Boulder Startup Week sessions on startup diversity to provide my perspective as a female investor with experience investing in women-led companies. Admittedly, when I was asked to speak on these topics, I was a little miffed. Two more invitations to speak about being a woman rather than what I am truly passionate about – startup investing. In fact, in deciding to found MergeLane – the startup accelerator and fund for startups with at least one female in leadership — my business partner and I had long talks about our ambivalence around this issue. I’ve written about this before. But….I wanted to be a part of Boulder Startup Week, and I was asked to speak with three of my favorite startup investors: Nicole Glaros and David Cohen from Techstars, and Brad Feld from Foundry Group. I am so glad that I agreed to give these talks.
Since my partner and I made the leap to create MergeLane two years ago, there has been extensive media coverage on the benefits of gender diversity and explosive growth of female-focused investing. We talk about our goal of being obsolete, and we’re always wondering when MergeLane’s gender lens strategy will no longer be needed. Talking with Nicole, Brad and David not only convinced me that I am still on the right path, but it also reminded me of three critical things:
1) Investing in diversity is not a charitable cause. It is an investment in innovation.
2) Diversity in the startup community means far more than gender diversity.
3) Diversity requires ongoing attention.
There are dozens of studies that support the case for diversity in business. As I was reminded from my talks this week, there are multiple ways to actually achieve it. You can hear a few examples from my conversation on diversity with David Cohen here.
Additionally, the following is a list of some of my favorite diversity tactics coupled with a few more, courtesy of my co-speakers Nicole Glaros, David Cohen and Brad Feld.
Thanks to Boulder Startup Week and my co-speakers Nicole, David and Brad, I’m reenergized about the MergeLane mission and the importance of diversity beyond gender. Having a network of smart people to keep me in check is yet another reason it’s a privilege to call Boulder and the global startup community home. Onward and Upward.
Since we are all wondering how COVID-19 will affect venture capital investment, I surveyed some of my Fund81 VC forum members to take quick pulse on their investment plans. Below is the data from the first 34 respondents.
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Nearly every email I receive starts with “Sorry for the delay.” Our always-on culture has set an unwritten expectation that an email should be responded to within 24 hours. To prevent the perpetuation of this cultural expectation, I would like to make my thoughts clear.