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.
At MergeLane, we’ve been thinking about how changing market conditions may affect our fund in the future. I know many of our listeners are asking themselves that question as well. Our guest, Liza Benson, thrived as a VC through both the dot-com crash in 2000 and the 2008 financial crisis.
Beezer Clarkson invests in early-stage venture funds at Sapphire Partners (the division within Sapphire Ventures that invests in venture funds). In this episode, Beezer shares her perspective on venture capital trends, VC firm differentiation, and nonobvious mistakes for VC fund managers to avoid.
As an entrepreneur and startup investor, I have had many moments of feeling like I am pushing water uphill with a rake. Sometimes, I have kept pushing and have succeeded out of sheer grit. Sometimes, it was time to admit defeat. Two years ago, I had one of those moments.
Elizabeth Yin, co-founder and general partner at the Hustle Fund, shared her thoughts on how to assess a startup’s ability to “hustle”. Her thoughts are applicable to venture capitalists, startups and anyone who wants to work with hustlers.
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.
We asked our Fund81 forum for venture capitalists to nominate portfolio companies to participate in a startup showcase. We received over 50 nominations. Four of those startups are featured in this episode.
Jocelyn Goldfein from Zetta Venture Partners joined the Fund81 podcast to share her approach to investing in artificial intelligence (AI). With the cost of creating software continuing to decline, Zetta believes the companies of the future will need to build more than just great software to thrive.
I love being active, but I also have high professional aspirations. I’ve spent the last 16 years trying to find a productive balance between the two. In this episode, Nicole DeBoom, pro triathlete turned CEO of Skirt Sports, and I share our thoughts on how to fit fitness into a startup schedule.
Fundraising doesn’t come naturally to David Cohen, founder and co-CEO of Techstars, but he’s learned how to leverage his strengths and team to successfully raise the funds that power the Techstars network. In this episode, he shares his honest and authentic reflections from this experience.
I practice the principles of Conscious Leadership, a methodology and toolkit that accelerates self-awareness. It’s being taught at companies like Yahoo, Goldman Sachs and Ebay and has forever changed every aspect of my life. I estimate that it has bought me about five hours of extra time each day.