USA Today tech reporter Jon Swartz (@jswartz) recently convened a panel of female venture capitalists at Facebook’s headquarters to discuss strides these investors have taken in the shrinking VC industry. To simplistically state the result: there’s a shift; consolidation among the larger VC firms is sending savvy female investors to explore more early-stage and angel opportunities–and they’re seeing success.
DBL’s Managing Partner, Cynthia Ringo (@cynthiaringodbl) participated and was joined by about a dozen other women from around the Bay Area, as well as Facebook’s Cheryl Sandberg.
Many of these points are covered in the article but a few of the topics discussed include:
- Venture capital is a shrinking industry, primarily dominated by men with longstanding historical connections–they went to school with each other or started companies or funds with each other.
- Much of the available capital is concentrated in just a few firms, or controlled by fewer people
- Larger firms that do have female partners face questions about how much control of influence these women have in the firm’s investments.
- Recent changes to the industry that favor women include the creation of smaller funds investing in companies that need less capital like the web, mobile firms, e‑commerce and web-health.
- The financial barrier for entry for these types of companies is dropping because technology is getting better at cheaply addressing issues that used to cost a lot more, like marketing, visibility and getting out the word.
- Most agreed the solution has its roots in education. There needs to be more women in math, science, technology, engineering and business. Those connections are would grow into the new syndicates responsible for reaching parity with men in tech investment.
One negative: women self-evaluate differently than men. The consensus was they’re more self-critical which can be a stifling factor.
On the upside, women are more comfortable mentoring and supporting other women so those who try and maybe fail aren’t so quick to walk away without learning from the experience and trying again.
The full USA Today article is here.