More women in tech — It’s important to educate and inspire women from a young age that entrepreneurship and technology is a possible career path for them. Having more women role models in tech would be extremely valuable to inspire young students.
As part of my series about “the five things we need to do to close the VC gender gap” I had the pleasure of interviewing Roshan Patel, the Founder and CEO of Equality VC, a non-profit incubator for early-stage startups with underestimated and under-represented minority founders. Over the past 3 years, he has directly invested or assisted over 100 founders grow and scale their companies, including SpaceX and Uber.
Thank you so much for joining us, let’s jump right in. According to this article in Fortune, only 2.2% of VC dollars went to women in 2018. Can you share with our readers what you or your firm is doing to help close the VC gender gap?
Equality VC is a non-profit incubator for early stage startups with underestimated and underrepresented minority founders. We help startups grow, scale, and find funding through microgrants, strategic advice, consulting services, and active engagement. We focus heavily on helping female founders build their companies — with everything from business development, hiring, branding, operations, PR, and fundraising.
One big initiative we are taking on to help close the VC gender gap is putting female founders in front of female VCs. VC tends to be male-dominated, with women only accounting for about 10% of decision-makers at VC firms. We have developed relationships with some of the top women-led VC firms in the country, and can help our female founders get in front of the right people at the right time.
Can you recommend 5 things that need to be done on a broader societal level to close the VC gender gap, and explain?
· More female VCs — VCs tend to network with and invest in people that look and think like them. Having more female VCs could directly increase the funding that goes towards female entrepreneurs.
· More female Limited Partners (LPs) — LPs invest in VC funds. Having more female LPs could increase the number of women-led VC firms or VC firms with women partners.
· More women in tech — It’s important to educate and inspire women from a young age that entrepreneurship and technology is a possible career path for them. Having more women role models in tech would be extremely valuable to inspire young students.
· More female representation on boards — closing the gender gap means having more women in every part of the ecosystem. Over 60% of startup boards have no women representation at all.
· Supporting work-life balance for women — startups need to offer working mothers a better work-life balance including sufficient child-care systems and time for career advancement/networking while supporting their families. It seems that women are forced to choose between a career and family and it shouldn’t be that way.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to see a mega-fund focused on women entrepreneurs. To date, most female-focused VCs tend to be seed funds, typically smaller in size ($10M-$50M). I think having a larger fund, perhaps $1B in size, that could invest more dollars into more companies would have ripple effects across the ecosystem.
Who’s a female entrepreneur/ VC you respect and why?
Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Backstage Capital. She has incredible story, having no college degree, no network, and no money. She was able to bring widespread attention to the gap in funding for minority founders, and launched a venture fund that has already invested in over 100 founders.
What do you think is the purpose and real impact of VC funds who focalize their work in women and minorities?
The real impact is equality — giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. Many women and minorities don’t have the chance or resources to start a business or pitch a VC. It’s all about giving them that opportunity.
Can you share with us an anecdote about the real impact you’ve had in this field?
I met Dayo Adeosun back in February. Dayo is extremely smart and talented — he’s a student of color studying Computer Science in Chicago who started a company from his dorm room. His company, Spott, allows users to connect with the people and places around them, in real-time. At Equality VC, we helped Dayo build a business model, create a pitch deck, and hire engineers. Spott was recently accepted into an accelerator this summer and secured angel investment.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Austen Allred, Co-founder and CEO of Lambda School. He has an incredible story and is so passionate about his students’ success. I love the innovation he is bringing to the education space and would love to learn more from him!
Thank you so much for these great insights!
About The Author:
Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry leaders.