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Study Reveals: 0% of Women-led Startups Funded


April Fools, folks. My team tried to play a joke on me today. They told me that a new study reported that 0% of women-led startups are funded. While that's an April Fools joke, the real stats aren't much better. Only 7% of investor money goes to women-led startups, if you can believe it. Just 7% up from 0%. That's pretty bad.

It's about time that we invest more in women-led startups. There's talk about how we need to #changetheratio, but talk's not enough. There's gotta be action that disrupts the tech sector. Today, I'm partnering with Women Who Tech to launch the first-ever Women Startup Challenge to fund women-led startups. The goal's to raise money for every women-led startup that applies and gets accepted. Startups in the Women Startup Challenge can also win up to another $50K in cash, with no strings attached, plus lots of other startup-friendly prizes, like a one-on-one meeting with one of the partners from 500 Startups, and classes from General Assembly. I also plan to profile some of the winning startups on Huffington Post, Medium, and LinkedIn.

In addition to launching the Women Startup Challenge, we just released an infographic to show just how important this Challenge is for women in startups. The stats might surprise you, but hopefully they'll motivate you to join me and disrupt the stagnant numbers.

women led

As part of the Women Startup Challenge, Women Who Tech has also organized a series of events focusing on getting women entrepreneurs the recognition they deserve. Check out the livestream panel on Bootstrapping to Big Bucks: Tips for Funding Your Startup with Susan Lyne (President of BBG Ventures, The BBG Fund at AOL Inc) and Kate Shillo (VC and Director of Galvanize), moderated by Allyson Kapin (Founder of Women Who Tech) on April 6th at 3pm ET at General Assembly.

Then, if you want to learn how to make your pitch even better, what pitfalls to avoid,  or how to break through the brogrammer culture, check out the Women Who TeleSummit on April 29th from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM ET. It will feature some of the biggest changemakers and disruptors in the tech sector, including Lisa Stone, Cofounder of BlogHer, Lynne d. Johnson, former Senior Editor of Fast Company, Sarah Kunst, Partner at Fortis Partners, Julie Wainwright, CEO of The RealReal, Wendy Tan White, Cofounder of Moon Fruit, Rebecca Eisenberg, General Counsel, Formerly of PayPal and Reddit, and more.

Don't forget to apply for the Women Who Tech Startup Challenge, and let's change the ratio. Follow along with the hashtag, #WomenWhoTech.


5 Women Investors You Need to Know

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, 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 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!


5 Tech Women Creating Real Change

possibleHey, my team and I have been doing lots of work in the women in tech field lately, especially since I'm supporting the Women Who Tech TeleSummit and Startup Challenge. While I'm supporting these efforts, I figure it's important for us to continue highlighting women who are creating real change on the ground.

These 5 tech gurus are the real deal:

1. Janice Levenhagen-Seeley, Founder & Executive Director at ChickTech

Janice has a BS in Computer Engineering from Oregon State University and an MBA from Willamette University.  In the past, Janice has run Embla Consulting, a marketing and business consulting firm for small businesses.  She was also co-founder of trovi, a seed-stage tech startup located in Portland, Oregon.

Janice strongly believes that the diversity and strengths that women can bring will push high tech to even more impressive heights.  Her inspiration for creating ChickTech came from her own experiences in computer engineering and the realization that the percentage of women in engineering isn’t going to get higher by itself.

2. Jane Silber, Chief Executive Officer at Canonical

Jane has over 20 years' experience in business development, operations and software management. Before becoming Canonical’s CEO in 2010, Jane held VP roles at Canonical, Interactive Television Company, and General Dynamics C4 Systems.

3. Ann Miura-Ko, CoFounding Partner at FLOODGATE

At FLOODGATE, Ann's investment interests include the innovations in e-commerce, radical science, and big data. She currently sits on the boards of Modcloth, Refinery29, Chloe and Isabel, Wanelo, Ayasdi, Inscopix, Nirvana Energy Systems, Rise and CSS. She was previously a board member of TaskRabbit and Lyft. In addition to serving at FLOODGATE, Ann is a lecturer in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, where she got her PhD focused on mathematical modeling of computer security. Prior to joining FLOODGATE, Ann worked at Charles River Ventures and McKinsey and Company.

Ann grew up in Palo Alto, California (her father is a rocket scientist at NASA) and, as a result, was exposed at an early age to the world of startups, technology and venture capital. She developed an early passion for robotics and went on to major in electrical engineering at Yale University where she received her BS degree. For her senior project, she was part of a five person team that designed four robots to autonomously play soccer which competed at the Robocup competition in Paris, France. She lives in Menlo Park with her husband and three kids.

4. Tanya Menendez, CoFounder and CMO at Maker's Row

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tanya studied technology and its socioeconomic impacts on rural economies at UCSD. Conducting a number of studies on financial technology advancements in Oaxaca, Mexico, she co-authored “The Economics of Migration”, published by the University of California. Shortly thereafter, Menendez joined the Google Strategy and Integration group advising on internal system operations.

In 2011 Menendez partnered with Matthew Burnett on The Brooklyn Bakery to manage sales and operations. While at The Brooklyn Bakery, she came up with the idea to create a platform for entrepreneurs to be able to easily access American manufacturers. Combining her experience in operations / automation with her CoFounder’s experience in global manufacturing, they started Maker’s Row.

5. Natalia Oberti Noguera, Founder and CEO at Pipeline Fellowship

Dubbed “The Coach” by Marie Claire, Natalia (aka Ms. Oberti Noguera) is Founder and CEO of Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women that’s changing the face of angel investing and creating capital for women social entrepreneurs.

Natalia holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale. She has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Mashable, Newsweek, Reuters Money, TechCrunch, The New York Times, and Fast Company’s Co.Exist Change Generation series. Natalia was named to the Forbes list “Top 20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter,” as well as’s “25 Latinas Who Shine in Tech.” Women’s eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012 and Fortune highlighted her as one of the “55 most influential women on Twitter.”

What women in tech do you see making a real difference in the world? And if you're interested, register for the Women Who Tech TeleSummit and apply for the Women Startup Challenge, where you can win up to $50K for your startup or nonprofit (no strings attached).

You can also check out all the other women in STEM lists my team and I have made…

The Trust Project: new hope for trustworthy news

The Trust Project along with the Jeff Jarvis enhancement offers hope to revive trustworthy journalism as “the immune system of democracy.”

The gist of this effort is to develop signals of trust for news outlets and individual articles. For example, a news outlet would commit to a serious code of ethics/trust and also diversity, and some means wherein the news outlet could be held accountable to that code.

click bait

(to restore trust in news, we need less click bait, more accountability)

The ethics code work of the Society of Professional Journalists and that of the Online News Association are really good places to start.

So, the gist of the Trust Project is that:

  1. A news outlet promises to adhere to trustworthy practices, indicating that via standard signals in publication.
  2. Articles from that outlet could be ranked higher, in places like Google News, than article from sources that don’t promise trustworthiness.

This is NOT about any news aggregator picking and choosing what’s trustworthy; making such a claim would itself be untrustworthy.

Sure, the devil’s in the details, particularly when it comes to holding a news outlet accountable to its code.

Sure, there’ll be other issues, but far as I can tell, this is the only hope of restoring “the immune system of democracy.” (Note: I just want news I can trust…)

#20yrscraigslist: a few words about money


Marc Perton got right much of the gist of my feelings about too much money, which are pretty much the opposite of the Silicon Valley norm.

“Craig Newmark recently posted something reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Craigslist, in which he reiterated his late-90s statement that 'no one needs a billion dollars.'"

Then, as now, the statement, seemingly obvious, was controversial.

“When Craigslist grew to prominence at the beginning of the century, the idea of leaving that much money on the table seemed like a bizarre joke to most of the tech world.”

(He followed by debunking some of the mythology around craigslist.)

Y’know, it’s good to know when enough is enough.

I’m such a nerd.