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.