Folks, my team and I have been thinking a lot about the Ellen Pao case. It's hard to believe that the number of women VCs shrank to 6% last year from 10% in 1999 (according to a study by Babson College). I know that there are lots of great women investors who are the real deal. We've compiled a list of 5 women investors (with some help from Sarah Kunst, a partner at Fortis Partners) that you should know about.
These women are disrupting the investor world. And speaking of women investors, be sure and tune in for a really great livestream panel about fundraising for women-led startups on April 6th at 3PM with Susan Lyne, President of BBG Ventures (AOL’s new venture fund), Kate Shillo, a VC and Director of Galvanize, and Allyson Kapin of Women Who Tech. They'll share tips on how to nail your pitch, as well as pitfalls to avoid. The free livestream's being hosted by General Assembly.
The 5 Women Investors you should know, in no particular order…
1. Susan Lyne, Founder of BBG Ventures
Mother of daughters. Raised by sisters. Now leading a new venture fund focused on women-led tech startups, investing in visionary founders creating transformational consumer tech products that will make our lives simpler, better, more delightful. #BUILTBYGIRLS
As CEO of AOL Brand Group, Susan Lyne oversees all aspects of the Brand Group’s growth strategy, including increasing traffic across properties, maximizing partnerships with advertisers and publishers, and attracting top talent, with a particular focus on content, design, programming, and product. She joined AOL in this role in February 2013.
Lyne currently serves on the board of directors of Gilt Groupe, Inc. and Starz, LLC. She attended the University of California, Berkeley.
2. Sarah Kunst, Partner at Fortist Partner
Sarah Kunst is a entrepreneur, investor, advisor and philanthropist. She is from rural Michigan and attended Michigan State University. She has worked at Apple, Red Bull, Chanel, Mohr Davidow Ventures and a number of media and consumer startups. She is currently a partner at Fortis. Her philanthropic interests include Help Us Adopt, Code2040, USA State Department’s Tech Women program, Technovation Challenge and being on the boards of Venture for America and the New York City Department of Education Finance and Business Commission. She also mentors and advises racially, geographically and gender diverse startups through NewMe, Digital Undivided, Mergelane, The Startup Factory, Boost.vc and Techstar’s Patriot Bootcamp.
Kunst is on the 2015 Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 list and has been recognized for her work in Business Insider as a 30 under 30 and Top African-American in Tech and Marie Claire Magazine named her a Young Gun to watch. She also writes for The Daily Beast and Entrepreneur.com and speaks on venture funding and startups frequently, including at the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Wall Street conference. Sarah is a passionate leader who is focused on global inclusiveness and helping traditionally underrepresented people find success.
3. Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Maveron
In her collaborative role at Maveron, Rebecca identifies emerging consumer-focused entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Southern California, and her hometown of New York City. She also plays a leading role in Maveron's seed program, where they partner with emerging consumer companies at their earliest stages. She’s a Board Observer at Aria, August, Darby Smart, Dolls Kill and General Assembly.
In a prior life, Rebecca was a journalist—for the Economist in London and as special projects editor at Narrative, an online literary platform devoted to bringing great literature into the digital age. At Narrative, in her addition to her editorial responsibilities, she was in charge of driving revenue and scaling the user base. Now she brings her skills and passion for understanding how stories come together to looking at the potential of breakout consumer brands.
4. Anu Duggal, Director of the Female Founders Fund (F Cubed)
Anu believes passionately in the power of female founders. She founded F Cubed to prove the thesis that when you invest in women, you get great returns.
An entrepreneur herself, Duggal’s many successes include India’s first wine bar, as well as co-founding Exclusively. In, an Accel and Tiger-backed e-commerce site named as one of the Top 20 Fashion Destination sites in the world.
Duggal was named one of the top angel investors in New York in 2012, and she graduated from Vassar College, and holds an MBA from London Business School. She currently serves on the board of the Rubin Museum.
5. Jalak Jobanputra, Founding Partner at FuturePerfect Ventures
Jalak Jobanputra is Founding Partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund in NYC. Previously, she was the Director of Mobile Investments at Omidyar Network, a philanthrocapitalist fund started by Pierre Omidyar, co-founder of eBay. While there, she created a mobile investment strategy, invested in an East African mobile tech incubator, invested in an Indian mobile classifieds site, and closed Omidyar’s largest for profit investment ($5M) to date in Latin America. She has 20 years experience in venture capital, impact investing, media and technology.
Jobanputra was previously Senior Vice President at the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF), where she spearheaded the formation NYCSeed in 2008, a seed fund dedicated to funding early stage tech entrepreneurs in NYC, in response to a market gap in seed funding at the time. She was also on the selection committee and served as a mentor and speaker for NYCSeedStart, NYC’s first summer accelerator program, and helped launch the FinTech Innovation Lab, which has since been replicated in London. Jobanputra worked closely with the Bloomberg administration and NYCEDC to implement initiatives to help diversify the NYC economy through NYC’s growing tech/digital sectors and served on Governor Paterson’s Small Business Taskforce.
Jobanputra is also active in supporting education reform and social entrepreneurship and served as a Trustee of Achievement First Bushwick Charter Schools (Brooklyn) and sits on the Executive Committee of the Social Investment Council of Echoing Green. She is on the Board of Directors for the Center for an Urban Future, Advisory Board of Loreal’s Women in Digital Initiative, and Access to Capital Subcommittee member of the US Secretary of State Women’s Leadership Council.
Who would you add to this list? My team and I are focusing on women investors because we're working to support women-led startups through the Women Who Tech Startup Challenge and TeleSummit. We'd love it if you joined us. Thanks!