We are excited to announce that MergeLane will be accepting its first class of women-led startups in February of 2015. After years of running, mentoring and investing in startups, Sue Heilbronner saw a need for this and I am so thankful she convinced me to join her.
After becoming increasingly aware that she was often the only woman in the entrepreneurial startup room, Sue called me and said “I have a great idea, are you sitting down? I think you and I should start an accelerator for women-led businesses.” And I thought, “Sue, I love you, but I’m not sure I’m bought in.”
I was well aware of the looming accelerator shake out and I have always been a fan of diversity rather than all-female efforts. Luckily, persuasion is one of Sue’s best talents. She of course, wouldn’t take no for an answer and asked: “As an angel investor and entrepreneur, aren’t you tired of being the only female in the room? And you like to invest in women and male/female teams, right?”
In fact, I was tired of being the only woman in the room and I do like to invest in women, both because I tend to meet extraordinary entrepreneurs who happen to be women and because the statistics overwhelmingly show that women-led and gender-diverse businesses perform better. So I thought, hmm…..maybe I should give this some thought.
And her persuasion continued. “I’m not proposing that we start an all-female accelerator. I’m proposing that we start an accelerator that is backed by an equal number of male and female investors and mentors, and is uniquely designed to activate female leaders,” Sue said.
So…this started to sound a little more interesting. As angel investors and mentors, Sue and I had met with hundreds of female entrepreneurs and had chatted many times about the different nuances of female vs. male entrepreneurs (more on that in a future blog post). But would top-tier female entrepreneurs apply for a female-focused accelerator? Would investors want to invest in something like this?
After talking to about 150 of the most respected entrepreneurs and angel investors in our network and beyond, I can emphatically say YES.
Because of the overwhelmingly positive response and support we’ve received, we are ready to announce that our first class will start on February 2, 2015 – seven months ahead of schedule.
Sue sent me this picture of the note I left at her house after her fourth attempt to artfully persuade me. I am so glad she has such a talent for that. I am humbled to join her and the long list of influential and inspiring people who have agreed to join us in this effort.
As an entrepreneur, I know how to push water uphill with a rake. Now I’ll just have to learn how to move with a current that’s faster than me.
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?
Without that physical barrier between work and home, many entrepreneurs (including me) have a hard time shutting off. In this podcast episode, I share what I've learned through my experience working from home for the past 15 years.
I invited Seth Levine to join the show because we’ve had some nice conversations about the challenge we each have in managing our personal bandwidth. Since having these conversations, we’ve both managed to carve out more time through some creative outsourcing and delegating.
Dave Balter, CEO of MergeLane-backed Flipside Crypto, has built three previous startups in the midst of economic downturns. He believes recessions are the greatest time to launch into successful models. In this Fund81 podcast episode, Dave shares his thoughts on why these eras drive opportunity.
I’ve been working from home for the past 15 years. I have learned a lot about maximizing productivity, finding work/life harmony, managing home life, staying fit and maintaining a healthy marriage while working from home. I’ve shared some of these lessons learned in this Fund81 podcast episode.
As part of our survey to determine whether COVID-19 will slow VC investment, we asked venture capitalists to share their advice for entrepreneurs who are currently raising or plan to raise capital in the next six months. Here's advice from 21 of those VCs.
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.
I have battled anxiety for many years. In that journey, I've learned a lot about how to manage it and support others who battle anxiety as well. I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts.