DBL Partners’ Cynthia Ringo Talks Women in Venture Capital with USA Today

Gains being Seen in Early-stage, Angel Investing

November 5, 2012

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.