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Women in Venture Capital
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Women in Venture Capital

Author: Rashveena and Anvita (Harvard Business School)

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A podcast by students for students. Join us as we engage with women, from analysts to partners, establishing their presence in the venture capital industry and male counterparts lending a hand. Let's talk networking, recruiting, culture, trends, investment opportunities, female funding and breaking into the boys' club.
36 Episodes
In this episode, Chloe talks to us about her career—from investment banking at Goldman Sachs to venture capital at Renegade Partners, and key incentives in making the jump between industries. She describes her interest in TMT and dives into the differences between early and late stage investing. She also gives shares about her experience as an angel investor and the diversity-driven motives that led her to pursue this career. Chloe ends on a positive note, recounting her experience with All Raise and her hopes on what it will accomplish in the future.
In this episode, we talk to Mar about her journey from co-founding three startups in the mobile/e-commerce, enterprise software and semiconductor industries to co-founding and managing Pear VC. Mar talks to us about Pear's "0 to 1" thesis focused on attractive yet realistic hypotheses and founding teams with demonstrated capacity to execute. Lastly, Mar talks to us about her frustration that venture funding in the hands of women is still sub 5% but hopes for the growth rate to accelerate in the coming years. Her advice to women trying to break in: work on your persona as an investor and be confident.
This week we had the pleasure of talking to Anne Dwane, founding partner at Village Global. In this episode, Anne talks to us about her experience founding and managing during tough times. She touches upon her interest in education, and the founder-driven investment thesis at Village Global. Lastly, she addresses the tricky questions that female founders have been facing while fundraising, how to build a better environment for women to grow as founders and investors and ends with some tactical advice on how to add value and join the venture industry. 
Natalia Gonzalez, Investment Manager at Clout Capital, joins us to talk about her path from consulting to Venture Capital and the focus on Latin American markets that has been central to her career. Natalia provides compelling statistics for investing in LatAm and expresses her own excitement that such an influx can serve as a catalyst for socio-economic change in the region. She identifies important components in sourcing and evaluating LatAm companies and emphasizes the education to be had by the side of the Latin American entrepreneur. Lastly, Natalia tells us about the state of gender inclusivity in VC in LatAm and proposes steps to improve it.
This week, we talked to Arushi Jindal. She talked to us about her transition from banking to VC, emphasizing the ability to see how businesses evolve in VC as a deciding factor. She tells us about why she started Headway Circuit and what she hopes it will accomplish, with the overarching objective of providing mentorship for women in the industry. Arushi also imparts advice for breaking into VC along with concrete steps for improving the role of women in the industry.
In this episode, Sam talks about her path from political science to management consulting, to venture capital. She underlines impact and complexity as key components she looks for in a job and it was through this pursuit that she ended up at Innovation Endeavors. Sam reveals the unique ways she keeps up with machine learning technology and concludes with some advice on how to increase diversity and inclusion in vc—namely through vocalizing a desire for change.
In this episode, we talk to Joanna about the various opportunities she pursued that led her to business school. Joanna has an impressive amount of experience under her belt, starting off in marketing at RBI where she negotiated with franchises in South America to make the region more data driven and afterwards joining the smaller company Earshot where she was director of marketing. She became interested in VC because of the ability to work with dozens of entrepreneurs across industries and made the leap with a pre-MBA internship at S2G ventures. She lastly tells us about her interest in the Femtech industry and elaborates on what should be done to promote diversity in VC and how to best approach recruiting.
In this episode, Anna talks to us about her 10 year journey in Venture Capital, starting at Bessemer Ventures, where she found the unique opportunity of a venture firm willing to take a chance on a young woman, to CRV ventures where she currently works. She also gives details about her own firm LaunchX Ventures, a firm oriented towards teaching women how to fundraise, democratizing the tips and tricks previously disclosed only in certain exclusive circles. She closes with some advice for aspiring venture capitalists, emphasizing sourcing good deals over all else. 
In this episode, Iynna talks to us about her unconventional path to VC and the underlying passions that drove her there. Iynna worked at the UN early on in her career and switched tracks to pursue impact work that was more directed. Having grown up in a family that emphasized the importance of education, she became aware of the contrast between her path and those of many others she grew up with, and has made providing resources to African women for education and professional growth a cornerstone of her accomplishments. Lastly, she brings up points on restructuring a broken VC model to not only become more diverse but also more inclusive.
In this episode, Tony talks about the role that race, gender, social class and other divides play in access to opportunities in the U.S. He highlights the key takeaways from his latest work, "Race, Work and Leadership", notably how women and people of color are more likely to get visible job assignments but less likely to get global assignments, significant line management experience and critical developmental feedback, all key to success within organizations. When talking about gender and racial disparity within venture capital, Tony talks about homophily and unconscious bias as possible reasons to why the industry has been slow to address diversity but he remains optimistic about the recognition that this issue has gotten over the last couple of years and actions being put in place to address it.Tony Mayo is the Thomas S. Murphy Senior Lecturer of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit of Harvard Business School (HBS).  He currently teaches Leadership and Organizational Behavior and Authentic Leader Development in the MBA Program.  He recently co-created the HBS Online course, Leadership Principles, designed to help new and aspiring leaders unleash the potential in themselves and others. Tony is the author of many books on Leadership and Management, the latest being Race, Work and Leadership, a rare and important compilation of essays that examines how race matters in people’s experience of work and leadership. 
In this episode, Ashley Aydin talks to us about her interest in the consumer space and passion for impact investing. She also highlights the importance of engaging with younger women and providing them with the resources to learn more and get involved early as a means to tackle gender disparity in the industry. Her advice for breaking into VC: build relationships with founders early, be proactive and hustle.Ashley is a second year MBA student at MIT Sloan. She started her career in Equity Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley before moving to strategy and business development in the consumer/retail space. Since starting her MBA at Sloan, Ashley has taken on a number of venture roles at the Dorm Room Fund, Founders Factory, VamosVentures and Brand Foundry Ventures.
In this episode we talk to Maria Salamanca about her journey into politics and investing, her views on diversity at the funding and portfolio level, innovation trends that excite her the most and the women who inspire her.Maria is a Principal at Unshackled Ventures, a fund that fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, funding teams with immigrant founders at pre-seed stage. During her time there, she has been involved in 40+ investments and seen ~1,500 deals a year. She was the first Latina named Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and Business Insider’s Under 30 Rising Stars. Maria started her career at a bipartisan political organization focused on immigration and criminal justice reform. The group was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ron Conway, Reid Hoffman and other tech leaders. She was also the founding COO at Swing Left and supported Higher Ground Labs with the first-ever political technology landscape.
In this episode, Geeta Vemuri talks to us about her journey into healthcare focused venture capital and applying science to business. She also addresses how the current environment has prompted her team to look into opportunities that are opening up in the form supply chain  disruptions and her philosophy that there is no right time to start a company.Geeta is a founder and managing partner at Agent Capital, one of only 4 majority women owned U.S. based Bio Pharma Venture Capital funds, investing in companies that look to treat oncology, immunology, rare diseases, and neurology. Geeta came to the U.S. in 1992 following an invitation to do her post-doc from a national academy of science scientist, but upon arriving, she realized her passion for taking science from the lab and translating it into businesses. She previously held the role of Vice President at Baxalta Ventures along with Vice President of Baxter Ventures. Geeta earned her Ph.D in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science and her MBA from Wharton.
In this episode, we hear from Julia about her transition into venture capital, and early stage VC fellowship experience.Julia is a vice president at March Capital Partners, a Santa Monica-based technology investment firm. Julia graduated from Harvard Business School in 2020. While at HBS she worked as a venture fellow for Pear VC, an early stage venture fund with a large focus on student entrepreneurs and was the president of InSITE’s Boston Chapter. Julia started her career in consulting. Prior to HBS, she worked as an associate at Greenspring Associates. She was also the co-founder and CEO of CareerPeer LLC, a web-based career path selection and management tool.
In this episode, we talk to Mary D'Onofrio about cloud software and  her experience at Bessemer Ventures including her involvement in the creation of the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index and Bessemer’s Cash Conversion Score. She addresses the importance of building meaningful relationships  and betting on yourself in venture capital especially as a woman.Mary is a VP at Bessemer Venture Partners, in Silicon Valley. She started the firm’s growth investment practice where she primarily focuses on cloud software. Mary actively tracks both private and public cloud software and is one of the key architects behind the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index (^EMCLOUD), which serves as a benchmark for public cloud companies. She also developed Bessemer’s Cash Conversion Score and is an author of the 10 Laws of Cloud. Previously, Mary has worked in Equity Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and graduated from Princeton University.
In this episode, we talk to Grace about her experience recruiting for venture capital, her passion for coaching and mentoring and her insights on the industry wide efforts in progress / required to bridge the gender gap in investing. Grace is a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School. She started her career in asset management at JPMorgan and has experience as an investment associate at Investible, an early-stage investment group based in Sydney and Overton Venture Capital, a consumer sector focused early-stage venture fund based in New York. Grace is currently interning at RapidSOS, an emergency response data platform while working as a graduate coach / admissions consultant at InGenius Prep and Inspira Futures.
In this episode, we hear from Cassie about the role of an Operating Partner at VCs. These roles are relatively new, and are valued by portfolio companies for getting VC support over and above just the capital.Cassie is an Operating Partner at Primary Ventures and works closely with founders and portfolio companies to help them build, scale and optimize their sales, marketing, and customer operations. Prior to Primary, Cassie joined CM Group as their Chief Customer Officer when they acquired Sailthru. Pre-acquisition, she served as Sailthru’s Chief Commercial Officer. Cassie has years of experience in marketing and analytics. She holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She is also on the advisory board for Venture for America.
In this episode, we talk to investor-founder Shruti Gandhi about her journey from being an engineer to founding her own company, Penseev and eventually, deep tech fosued fund, Array Ventures. Shruti also addresses the importance of having decision makers without bias in the industry and focusing on the give and take in networking.Shruti is the founder of Array Ventures, a fund focused on enterprise deep tech early stage companies. She is also a professor in the CS department at Columbia University. Shruti started her career as a software engineer at IBM and spent her early career as a developer on mainframe security, collaboration tools, and data analytics building a big data startup Penseev. She has been an investor at True Ventures and Samsung's venture fund, investing in early stage enterprise startups. Shruti has an MBA from University of Chicago and MS from Columbia University. 
Hear Priscilla's story of pure hustle and passion, breaking into the VC industry and continuing to follow her heart to create impact. Priscilla is currently a Senior Associate at True Ventures, SF. She was the first Priya Haji Fellow with the fund, where she worked with a True portfolio company, a wellness platform for on-demand coaching and therapy. Priscilla is actively involved as a member of the data science team with All Raise - an organization that seeks to create gender parity across venture capital and venture-backed businesses. In her personal capacity, she is a mentor with the Access Project - which is a group of investment professionals helping founders build companies. Priscilla has a bachelor’s degree in economics and French from Amherst College, where she was a member of the varsity women’s lacrosse team.
In this episode we talk to Kriti about her experience in venture capital across three continents, trends in Edtech as seen at Owl amid the pandemic and her take on diversity in the industry.Kriti is currently a Principal at Owl Ventures, an early-mid stage fund focusing on Edtech and future of work. She has also worked with the Softbank Vision Fund in London doing growth equity investing and was earlier doing early stage to series C stage investing in technology, consumer and healthcare spaces at Sequoia Capital, India. Kriti is a former consultant from Mckinsey and a graduate of Harvard Business School. 
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