Category: women

Venture Capital: A Lady’s Job?

By Allison Baum,
Badass NASA scientists Dr. Mary H. Johnston, Ann F. Whitaker and Carolyn S. Griner, and crew chief, Doris Chandler at Marshall Space Flight Centers General Purpose Laboratory in 1974.

Today, I ate my breakfast at General Assembly San Francisco, listening to Claire L. Evans talk about the untold history of badass women in technology as featured in her book Broadband.

Her key point was that, in spite of the fact it is indeed a male dominated industry, technology is not an inherently masculine endeavor. There was a time when it was actually dominated by women, probably because the core mission of technology has fundamentally female qualities. Since their origin, computers and the internet have been about building unexpected connections, democratizing access to information, and creating unprecedented opportunities. Isn’t that what women are naturally the best at? So then, why and how did technology become such a boy’s club?

In spite of spending the last six years building tech businesses across borders, this is my first time living in “the Silicon Valley” and I have spent the past few months seeing it with an outsider’s eyes. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bay Area is truly the quintessential American hotbed of entrepreneurship, the land of opportunity for wealth creation, and the birthplace of our generation’s most transformative and impactful companies. We, as venture capitalists, are meant to be the fuel for that fire.

We all know the VC industry has been under attack for being a shameless old boy’s club filled with hypocrites; an impenetrable network tasked with finding and knighting the changemakers of tomorrow, yet it still looks more like a picture of the past (read: old, male, and white). I am fully committed to changing that reality, but it will take time. In the meantime, I am wondering — how did this come to be?

After all, venture capital is about finding and empowering innovators. It is about seeing value where others do not. It is about aligning yourself with people who are smarter than you, better than you, and more determined than you. It is about putting your ego aside and working tirelessly with others to help them succeed at all costs. VC is all about nurturing deep and meaningful relationships, but it is also about ruthlessly prioritizing. It is not about the spotlight. We are not the actors on stage, we are the producers cheering them on and making shit happen behind the scenes.

Aren’t these things that come most naturally to us as women? Have we not been playing these roles for centuries in our personal lives as mothers, wives, daughters and friends? Could it be possible that venture capital is actually, inherently, a lady’s job?

I’d like to think so. But, either way, there’s no reason why it should be dominated by men. Or anyone, for that matter. This is certainly one corner of the world where it should be an asset to be different.

Venture Capital: A Lady’s Job? was originally published in Fusion by Fresco Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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