Women in Venture Capital

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In this episode we talk to Maria Salamanca about her journey into politics and investing, her views on diversity at the funding and portfolio level, innovation trends that excite her the most and the women who inspire her.Maria is a Principal at Unshackled Ventures, a fund that fills a unique space in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, funding teams with immigrant founders at pre-seed stage. During her time there, she has been involved in 40+ investments and seen ~1,500 deals a year. She was the first Latina named Forbes 30 Under 30 for Venture Capital and Business Insider’s Under 30 Rising Stars. Maria started her career at FWD.us a bipartisan political organization focused on immigration and criminal justice reform. The group was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ron Conway, Reid Hoffman and other tech leaders. She was also the founding COO at Swing Left and supported Higher Ground Labs with the first-ever political technology landscape.
In this episode, Geeta Vemuri talks to us about her journey into healthcare focused venture capital and applying science to business. She also addresses how the current environment has prompted her team to look into opportunities that are opening up in the form supply chain  disruptions and her philosophy that there is no right time to start a company.Geeta is a founder and managing partner at Agent Capital, one of only 4 majority women owned U.S. based Bio Pharma Venture Capital funds, investing in companies that look to treat oncology, immunology, rare diseases, and neurology. Geeta came to the U.S. in 1992 following an invitation to do her post-doc from a national academy of science scientist, but upon arriving, she realized her passion for taking science from the lab and translating it into businesses. She previously held the role of Vice President at Baxalta Ventures along with Vice President of Baxter Ventures. Geeta earned her Ph.D in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science and her MBA from Wharton.
In this episode, we hear from Julia about her transition into venture capital, and early stage VC fellowship experience.Julia is a vice president at March Capital Partners, a Santa Monica-based technology investment firm. Julia graduated from Harvard Business School in 2020. While at HBS she worked as a venture fellow for Pear VC, an early stage venture fund with a large focus on student entrepreneurs and was the president of InSITE’s Boston Chapter. Julia started her career in consulting. Prior to HBS, she worked as an associate at Greenspring Associates. She was also the co-founder and CEO of CareerPeer LLC, a web-based career path selection and management tool.
In this episode, we talk to Mary D'Onofrio about cloud software and  her experience at Bessemer Ventures including her involvement in the creation of the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index and Bessemer’s Cash Conversion Score. She addresses the importance of building meaningful relationships  and betting on yourself in venture capital especially as a woman.Mary is a VP at Bessemer Venture Partners, in Silicon Valley. She started the firm’s growth investment practice where she primarily focuses on cloud software. Mary actively tracks both private and public cloud software and is one of the key architects behind the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index (^EMCLOUD), which serves as a benchmark for public cloud companies. She also developed Bessemer’s Cash Conversion Score and is an author of the 10 Laws of Cloud. Previously, Mary has worked in Equity Capital Markets at Morgan Stanley. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and graduated from Princeton University.
In this episode, we talk to Grace about her experience recruiting for venture capital, her passion for coaching and mentoring and her insights on the industry wide efforts in progress / required to bridge the gender gap in investing. Grace is a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School. She started her career in asset management at JPMorgan and has experience as an investment associate at Investible, an early-stage investment group based in Sydney and Overton Venture Capital, a consumer sector focused early-stage venture fund based in New York. Grace is currently interning at RapidSOS, an emergency response data platform while working as a graduate coach / admissions consultant at InGenius Prep and Inspira Futures.
In this episode, we hear from Cassie about the role of an Operating Partner at VCs. These roles are relatively new, and are valued by portfolio companies for getting VC support over and above just the capital.Cassie is an Operating Partner at Primary Ventures and works closely with founders and portfolio companies to help them build, scale and optimize their sales, marketing, and customer operations. Prior to Primary, Cassie joined CM Group as their Chief Customer Officer when they acquired Sailthru. Pre-acquisition, she served as Sailthru’s Chief Commercial Officer. Cassie has years of experience in marketing and analytics. She holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She is also on the advisory board for Venture for America.
In this episode, we talk to investor-founder Shruti Gandhi about her journey from being an engineer to founding her own company, Penseev and eventually, deep tech fosued fund, Array Ventures. Shruti also addresses the importance of having decision makers without bias in the industry and focusing on the give and take in networking.Shruti is the founder of Array Ventures, a fund focused on enterprise deep tech early stage companies. She is also a professor in the CS department at Columbia University. Shruti started her career as a software engineer at IBM and spent her early career as a developer on mainframe security, collaboration tools, and data analytics building a big data startup Penseev. She has been an investor at True Ventures and Samsung's venture fund, investing in early stage enterprise startups. Shruti has an MBA from University of Chicago and MS from Columbia University. 
Hear Priscilla's story of pure hustle and passion, breaking into the VC industry and continuing to follow her heart to create impact. Priscilla is currently a Senior Associate at True Ventures, SF. She was the first Priya Haji Fellow with the fund, where she worked with a True portfolio company Ginger.io, a wellness platform for on-demand coaching and therapy. Priscilla is actively involved as a member of the data science team with All Raise - an organization that seeks to create gender parity across venture capital and venture-backed businesses. In her personal capacity, she is a mentor with the Access Project - which is a group of investment professionals helping founders build companies. Priscilla has a bachelor’s degree in economics and French from Amherst College, where she was a member of the varsity women’s lacrosse team.
In this episode we talk to Kriti about her experience in venture capital across three continents, trends in Edtech as seen at Owl amid the pandemic and her take on diversity in the industry.Kriti is currently a Principal at Owl Ventures, an early-mid stage fund focusing on Edtech and future of work. She has also worked with the Softbank Vision Fund in London doing growth equity investing and was earlier doing early stage to series C stage investing in technology, consumer and healthcare spaces at Sequoia Capital, India. Kriti is a former consultant from Mckinsey and a graduate of Harvard Business School. 
In this episode, Angela shares her experiences with the Dorm Room Fund, Summit Partners and Norwest Ventures and gives some actionable, helpful words of advice for aspiring women investors.Angela is a managing partner at the Boston chapter of Dorm Room Fund, a national, student-run venture fund, backed by First Round. She spent this past summer working as an investor at Summit Partners and in operations at Productiv. She’s currently pursuing an MBA / MPP at Harvard. Prior to Harvard, Angela had years of experience in marketing at Freshly Picked and consulting at Bain & Co.
In this episode, Madeline talks to us about her community and impact driven initiatives at HBS and in Boston in the investing space. She speaks about the need for diversity to be at top of mind rather than an afterthought given its positive impact on business instead of / in addition to a moral imperative and the disproportionate impact of COVID on women.Madeline is an investor at Victress Capital, a Boston-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage consumer companies led by gender-diverse teams. She’s also on the board of the HBS Association of Boston, a nonprofit organization serving more than 8,000 HBS alumni and business leaders within Greater Boston and focused on Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Social Enterprise. Madeline earned her MBA from HBS in 2019. Prior to HBS, she worked as a senior consultant at Oliver Wyman and in operations at The Walt Disney Company.
In this episode, we hear from Dhanasree about her diverse experience in investing across different markets and her advice for folks, especially women, looking to break into this ecosystem.Dhanasree is a second year student at Chicago Booth School of Business and has deep experiences in the investing world - in India, China and now USA. She is currently working with the investment team at Menlo Ventures, researching and sourcing potential investment opportunities in FinTech, Enterprise SaaS and Consumer internet industries. She has interned with Altos Capital and Foundation Capital, SF earlier developing thesis on 'Future of Work' & 'Age Tech'. Dhanasree is a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and has also worked with the Xiaomi investments team in China. She started her investing journey with Blume Ventures in India, which she joined after 2 years with Deutsche Bank. She is an IIT Bombay graduate.
In this episode, we talk to Hannelle Fares about her transition from healthcare to venture capital, her experience recruiting at HBS and her experience with diversity in the industry as a young female investor.Hannelle is a second year MBA student at HBS. She has mostly recently worked at DCVC (Data Collective), a 23 person San Francisco-based venture capital firm that backs Deep Tech entrepreneurs. Prior to HBS, Hannelle spent two years working in health care as an AI product and program manager before transitioning to consulting, where she continued to focus predominantly on health care and life sciences.
In this episode, Jeff talks about trends in venture capital, from sector growth, to gender and race based biases. He also shares his key learnings having spent over a decade in the venture ecosystem with his diversity of experiences.Jeff is a General Partner at Flybridge, with investment interests in AI, blockchain, consumer, e-commerce, machine learning, and mobile start-ups. He also teaches a class at HBS on entrepreneurship and lean start-ups called Launching Technology Ventures. Jeff also runs The Graduate Syndicate, a micro-seed fund that Flybridge created to invest in startups co-founded by recent Harvard graduates. Jeff has previous experience as co-founder and president / COO of Upromise, a loyalty marketing and financial services firm that was acquired by Sallie Mae and as VP of Worldwide Marketing and Business Development at Open Market, an Internet commerce software leader that went public in 1996. Prior to Open Market, Jeff was with BCG. Jeff has also authored 2 books Entering StartUpLand: An Essential Guide to Finding the Right Job and Mastering the VC Game, to provide entrepreneurs an insider’s guide to financing and company-building.Additionally, Jeff is an active community member, serving as co-chairman of the leadership council at educational non-profit, Facing History and Ourselves, co-founder of a private-public partnership designed to tackle the underrepresentation of highly-skilled minority employees in Boston’s innovation ecosystem, Hack. Diversity, co-founder and co-chair of an immigration reform non-profit, the Global EIR Coalition, and co-founder and former chair of the progressive policy organization, The Alliance for Business Leadership. Jeff also serves on the boards of the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) and Edx. Jeff holds a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar and a Ford Scholar.
In this episode, Tess gives us a deep dive into Edtech, a sector that has gained renewed momentum this year as ~1.5 billion students and teachers move online. She talks to us about her journey working for Edtech companies, Andela and Pluralsight and eventually moving to Edtech focused fund, GSV Ventures and the need to break the cycle of limited funding to minority groups. She also gives us an overview of the ASU+GSV summit 2020, one of the largest conferences in the space.Tess Manning is a Principal at GSV Ventures, an early stage venture fund that partners with entrepreneurs in the $2 trillion global learning and talent technology sector. She’s heavily involved with the annual ASU+ GSV Summit that connects leaders focused on transforming society and business around learning and work. Tess joined GSV after graduating from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2019. Prior to GSV, Tess worked at Pluralsight, a technology skills platform and Andela, a New York based business solving the technical talent shortage by building distributed engineering teams in Africa. 
In today's episode we chat with our first female partner on the show, Anoushka Vaswani, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners in the Bay Area. Anoushka talks to us about enterprise software, diversity at the decision table, the importance of self-advocacy in career progression and fundraising amid COVID.At Lightspeed, Anoushka focuses on growth-stage companies within the enterprise software and infrastructure ecosystems. She has years of investing experience, having previously worked on the investment teams of Softbank Investment Advisers and Matrix Partners. She also has startup experience as a product manager at MasterClass. Anoushka started her career in banking at Goldman Sachs before moving to consulting at McKinsey. She double majored in Economics and Psychology at Columbia and went to Harvard for her MBA.
In this episode, Kam shares her journey of transitioning from social enterprise to investing and her tips on recruitment process. We also discuss how critical mentorship is, especially in the space of venture capital.Kam is an Associate at Indicator Ventures, a US-based seed-stage venture firm that backs and supports companies leveraging ‘digital efficiencies’ and at The Fund, NYC’s most active seed stage fund backing local entrepreneurs. She’s also involved with the Black New Venture Competition, a startup bootcamp and largest pitch competition for Black entrepreneurs in the nation.Before joining the investment space, Kam founded Dream Outside the Box, an app-driven social franchise model connecting college workforce with PK-5th grade students for career focused experiences, an organization that was recognized by President Barack Obama. Kam was a first generation college student at University of Missouri and is currently a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School
In this episode with Bukie Adebo, a second year student at HBS, we talk about Bukie's transition into venture capital without any prior experience. She also shares her thoughts on implicit biases in the ecosystem and how it is important to start by accepting those and working towards them consciously. You gravitate towards people who look like you, so there is extra effort needed to recognize diversity in funding – recognize the bias, then do something to overcome it”Bukie is currently working with Rebel One Ventures. Before HBS, she was a brand strategist and social impact consultant at Ogilvy Consulting. Prior to that, Bukie was a Consultant in Deloitte's Strategy & Operations practice and her work focused on growth strategy within retail and consumer products. 
Kriti talks to us about networking and recruiting across geographies in a very people-centric industry and her experience working in early stage and growth stage funds. She addresses culture at VC firms and how both men and women are keen to help improve gender representation at the decision table.Kriti is a second year MBA student at HBS. She is currently working with corporate venture firm, PayPal Ventures, where she focuses on later stage investments. Before starting her MBA at HBS, Kriti has had trading experience at Deutsche Bank as well as venture investing experience at an early to mid-stage fund in India- Chiratae Ventures. She has also been an entrepreneur in the past in the Agri-tech space and is an alum of IIT Bombay. 
Aia is a first year student at HBS. She is currently a Senior Associate at the Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, where she focuses on making early-stage technology investments in companies across the United States. In her role, she focuses on investment sourcing, due diligence, and working with portfolio companies. Prior to joining Revolution, Aia was an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs in New York City. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics.
We continue our conversation with Kim as she candidly addresses diversity (women and people of color) in the industry, the female network and her work at and inspiration from Bravehouse, a non-profit focused on providing legal and community benefits to young immigrant women.Kim is a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School where she’s also a Rock Venture Partner. She made the Forbes 30 under 30 for media in 2019 while working at Vice Media as a Director of Global Strategy. Kim has venture experience from Lerer Hippeau, AlleyCorp and Harlem Capital. She is the founder of Envision Accelerator, the first student led virtual accelerator for underrepresented student founders which just initiated its first cohort of 17 companies this summer. Kim is very passionate about empowering women and people of color and serves on the Board of Women in Innovation (WIN) and Brave House.
In this 1st part of a two-part series, Kim Patel talks to us about her experience in banking, how she navigated a number of restructurings within media and formed the corporate strategy team at Vice, her transition to venture capital and founding Envision Accelerator.Kim is a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School where she’s also a Rock Venture Partner. She made the Forbes 30 under 30 for media in 2019 while working at Vice Media as a Director of Global Strategy. Kim has venture experience from Lerer Hippeau, AlleyCorp and Harlem Capital. She is the founder of Envision Accelerator, the first student led virtual accelerator for underrepresented student founders which just initiated its first cohort of 17 companies this summer. Kim is very passionate about empowering women and people of color and serves on the Board of Women in Innovation (WIN) and Brave House, a non-profit focused on providing legal and community benefits to young immigrant women.
Shani is a second year MBA student at Harvard Business School. She started her career in investment management before moving to consulting. She’s currently working as a fellow at January Ventures, an early stage VC founded by operators turned investors who believe in an equal opportunity tech ecosystem. Earlier this year, she founded RESET Third Space, a health, wellness and fitness platform that seeks to scour 200k+ wellness apps for clients and provide personalized plans and access that align with their goals and interests.In this episode, Shani talks to Rashveena and Anvita to share her inspirations, journey into investing and entrepreneurship and her take on culture, resources available for women in VC.
Abhivyakti (Abhi) is an incoming MBA student at Harvard Business School. After graduating as an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, Abhi spent her initial time as a management consultant with BCG and then moved to a global, early to growth stage fund's India team : Lightspeed Partners, as an associate. In order to experience the other side of the table, she is currently working at an early stage Ed-tech startup in India.
The co-hosts, Rashveena and Anvita, talk about the idea behind and goals for this podcast, originated at the Harvard Business School and dedicated to women learning about and/or working in the venture capital industry. 
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Podcast Details

Created by
Rashveena and Anvita (Harvard Business School)
Podcast Status
Dec 2nd, 2020
Latest Episode
Dec 2nd, 2020
Release Period
2 per week
Avg. Episode Length
16 minutes

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