“Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men — the other 999 follow women.”–Groucho Marx
The following is a reprint of a November 20, 2010 press release from Astia, which is an organization dedicated to fostering women’s entrepreneurship in many forms. They recently gave awards to several venture capital firms for their own efforts to sponsor female-led corporations and innovations, which I thought was worth passing on.
I wish I saw more female-led companies in my daily travels. In theory there are definitely more women executives in the healthcare field than there are in many others, but in practice it is rare to see them at the helm. Hopefully this will continue to change with the work of Astia and others like them, as well as the actions of the venture capital community, at least the enlightened few.
I know that when many of my colleagues interview a potential CEO candidate, a very common interview question is “what did your dad do for a living?” Next time, guys, remember to ask what their mom did for a living as well. No doubt they were pivotal in the success of their child in reaching their successful station in life, whether as mentor or role model. In fact, I challenge all of you fellow VCs to require the recruiters you hire to find you CEOs to present you with at least 10% female candidates. You never know when WonderWoman might turn up.
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 30, 2010 – PRESS RELEASE
NEA, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Alloy Ventures to be recognized for investment in women entrepreneurs
Astia, the premier venture accelerator for women-led high growth companies, today announced the winners of its Awards that honor exceptional women innovators and recognize the investors and mentors who championed the success of women entrepreneurs. The Awards will be presented at the sixth annual awards ceremony taking place on December 2 at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View, Calif. The awards ceremony will once again this year be hosted by Kara Swisher who covers digital issues for The Wall Street Journal and is the co-producer and co-host of the prominent “All Things Digital” high-tech and media conference.
“At NEA, we are partners for the long term, supporting a company throughout its lifecycle and building lasting relationships with founders,” commented Rohini Chakravarthy, Partner, NEA. “We know the value of a thriving entrepreneurial community, because more than one-third of our portfolio companies are led by entrepreneurs we’ve backed before. NEA applauds and appreciates Astia’s commitment to building a flourishing entrepreneurial community and fueling the growth and success of women-led companies.”
The awards ceremony, sponsored by Fenwick & West LLP, Microsoft and Moss Adams demonstrate the success of women entrepreneurs and the investors who have backed their companies to create global companies of scale. The innovation and mentor awards were open for nomination and the VC awards were identified using Dow Jones VentureSource data.
“Alloy Ventures invests in world-class entrepreneurs who not only have great ideas, but also have a clear vision for building market-leading, profitable companies. All of the founders and CEOs we’ve backed know how to leverage innovation to solve a burning customer need,” said Craig Taylor, general partner at Alloy Ventures. “Alloy is honored to be awarded with the Diversified Portfolio Award for supporting the largest percentage of women-backed companies of any venture capital firm, and we look forward to continuing to offer hands-on guidance to the great women leaders of Ravenflow, Novasys Medical, Cambrios Technologies, and Siluria Technologies.”
For venture capital investment in the 2009 investment year as reported by Dow Jones VentureSource, the winners for include:
DIVERSIFIED PORTFOLIO AWARD
The firm with the the greatest percentage of investments in woman CEOs or founders
SHATTERED GLASS AWARD
The US firm with the greatest number of investments in female CEO’s
BREAKING THE BARRIERS AWARD
The greatest number of investments in companies with a women founder
Winners in the Innovators categories as nominated by prior recipients include:
Technology Innovators Award: Jennifer Zeszut, Founder & CEO, Scout Labs acquired by Lithium Technologies
Life Science Innovators Award: Ryan Phelan, Founder & CEO, DNA Direct acquired by Medco Health Solutions
Clean Tech Innovators Award: Pam Contag, PhD, Founder & CEO, Cygnet Biofuels
And the winners in the Mentoring categories as nominated by Astia entrepreneurs, and sponsored by Moss Adams:
A special Inspiration Award was presented earlier this month to Lesa Mitchell, Vice President of Innovation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, for her leadership and support of the Astia community, program and mission in 2010. In September, Astia received a $500,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation representing a commitment from both organizations to strategically work together to advance the participation of women in high-growth entrepreneurship.
“I continue to be inspired by the entrepreneurs we serve and the rich community that surrounds them. The Annual Awards are our opportunity to recognize exceptional business innovators, as well as the individuals who devote themselves to the success of entrepreneurs,” said Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia. “This year’s award winners are particularly impressive in their many achievements. I congratulate them all for their contributions to the industry and to the broader economy.”
Astia is a global not-for-profit organization built on a community with a distinct focus and mission – to propel women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth. Guided by a proven philosophy that gender diversity is an essential element of innovation, Astia works with start-ups around the world as they access capital, grow their businesses, and hone the leadership skills of their founding teams.
The Astia model of engaging a community of experts to the benefit of the select start-ups it serves has resulted in an exceptional success rate: since 2003, over 60 percent of companies that have participated in the Astia Investor Forums have secured funding or achieved an exit within one year of presenting, totalling more than $750 million dollars raised and 20 exits, including two IPOs. Headquartered in San Francisco, Astia delivers programs for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, New York, London and India. Astia has also had significant press coverage in major media channels including The New York Times, Businessweek, Forbes, The Daily Telegraph and The Financial Times. For more information, visit www.astia.org.