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.
I find that I have to expend three times more energy to feel productive during the holidays. This pattern tends to persist not only during the week of July 4th, but for the entire month of July.
We sourced five startups from our Fund81 VC forum members to present for our June forum. Check out this episode to hear pitches from these incredibly tenacious entrepreneurs.
I have fielded several requests for introductions this week. I like to be helpful, but I also like to be respectful of my network’s time. I'd like to share a few tips for making double opt-in intros easy.
I’ve always thought of myself as someone who has a modern marriage. Three months into this COVID-19 situation, however, I'm starting to feel like I'm stuck in a 1950s sitcom.
In a conversation on my partners Sue and Leah’s Marco Polo Channel this week, I shared that my fear of how my participation may be received given my white privilege has historically kept me on the sidelines of the racial equality conversation. Guest coach Kimberly Smith gave me some great advice.
As a VC, I have the opportunity to build relationships with people who have tremendous resources. I often hesitate to ask my network to support philanthropic causes, because I want to respect our business relationship. After seeing the impact of COVID-19, however, I decided it was time to ask.
I post my most interesting weekly thoughts, coupled with the best of my listening and reading list, and occasional MergeLane portfolio news each Tuesday. Here’s the best of what I’ve read and listened to this week:
I invited Dick Rothkopf, co-founder of Learning Curve International, the manufacturer of the Thomas the Tank Engine toys, to share his thoughts on how to spot big thinkers and big ideas with the propensity to scale, and how to help entrepreneurs think bigger.
During this epidemic, I've been doing more reading, listening, and introspective thinking. In an effort to remember and share some of what I learned, I'm going to start posting my most interesting weekly thoughts + the best of my listening and reading list + occasional MergeLane portfolio news.
Two people I admire recently shared their silver lining in our global COVID-19 pandemic—an excuse to say no to the constant stream of requests for their time. I’ve made great strides in saying no with candor, but it left me wondering: Can I really stop using excuses for my nos?