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“Beyond making money, we are also showcasing women and other underrepresented groups as the new faces of success.” with Elizabeth Lawler and Tyler Gallagher

The purpose is obvious, it is to make money by working with a group of people who represent an untapped market of potentially undervalued and over-performing companies. By providing access to capital, these companies become unleashed for growth. It is my hope that beyond making money, we are also showcasing women and other underrepresented groups […]


The purpose is obvious, it is to make money by working with a group of people who represent an untapped market of potentially undervalued and over-performing companies. By providing access to capital, these companies become unleashed for growth. It is my hope that beyond making money, we are also showcasing women and other underrepresented groups as the new faces of success.

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 Elizabeth Lawler, an accomplished serial entrepreneur and C-level operator. Today, as Co-Founder of xxAngels, Elizabeth and her emerging, Boston-based angel group are dedicated to bridging the funding gap for women entrepreneurs through early stage investments. In addition, Elizabeth serves as the Co-Founder & CEO of Appland, an emerging tech startup that aims to improve communication about code in high-velocity software development organizations. As the former Co-Founder and CEO of Conjur, Elizabeth built the DevOps-focused security company from scratch, which was sold to market leader CyberArk in 2017. Prior to Conjur, Elizabeth was the Chief Data Officer at Generation Health, which later sold to CVS Caremark.


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?

xxAngels is an angel investment group that has two women as Principals. The heart of what we do is simple — we are women who want to help other women succeed by providing early capital and assistance to our portfolio companies.

Can you recommend 5 things that need to be done on a broader societal level to close the VC gender gap, and explain?

  1. For those of us serving as individual angel investors, we have the opportunity to intentionally align financial support with emerging women business leaders. As a Limited Partner of venture capital funds, you may be one step removed from the decision making process because it is the investors in the venture capital firm with direct investment decision making responsibility. However as an LP, one can still make an impact on diversity by voicing their position on inclusion and investing money in funds with diverse portfolios.
  2. We need to elevate more women into positions to make investment decisions. Many women who have had successful exits can be leveraged to identify potential leaders in early stage. Promoting women to leadership investing positions within venture capital funds is also crucial to ensure that a diversity of opportunities are explored by the fund.
  3. Conduct blind pitch sessions. HBS studies have identified gender biases in the investor-entrepreneur conversation and these biases are difficult to overcome in practice. The goal is to evaluate each business on merits, and having blinded reviews of the business (removing info about the founders and their demographics) from the conversation sets a level playing field for objective analysis of a potential deal.
  4. I have a good friend who told me, “you can’t make money in venture capital by saying no”. Starting in the “yes” mindset can help investors to see past the kinds of biases that might obscure a great company.
  5. I meet a lot of amazing women with incredible businesses, many of which are much further along than our early angel target investment stage fund can accommodate. I ask myself before the end of each meeting, if I can’t invest here, what CAN I do to help this person along? Is it an introduction or constructive feedback? What can I do to help this person feel that their precious time was well used in discussing their company with me? Every entrepreneur struggles with balancing time for investors, and running their business. Investors should make the time they spend with you worth it no matter what.

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. 🙂

The right opportunity can change someone’s entire life trajectory, and assistance doesn’t always come in the form of a check. Sometimes it is an introduction, a friendly suggestion, or a shared life experience. Women who want to succeed appreciate any kind assistance when it is offered. By working with individuals and groups focused on female entrepreneurship, xxAngels is here to provide assistance in all forms. I certainly didn’t start this movement, but it is definitely gaining steam and we are here for it.

Who’s a female entrepreneur/ VC you respect and why?

Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee has an incredible reputation and track record of success, an admirable combination.

What do you think is the purpose and real impact of VC funds who focus their work on women and minorities?

The purpose is obvious, it is to make money by working with a group of people who represent an untapped market of potentially undervalued and over-performing companies. By providing access to capital, these companies become unleashed for growth. It is my hope that beyond making money, we are also showcasing women and other underrepresented groups as the new faces of success.

Can you share with us an anecdote about the real impact you’ve had in this field?

We have funded and mentored a number of women-led businesses from launch phase. We are helping to push them from friends and family, into seed and early stage financial round and most importantly, we are building a network of investors with follow-on capital to continue to grow these highly successful businesses.

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. 🙂

Tennis Star, Serena Williams has publicly launched a venture fund called Serena Ventures. The firm focuses broadly on early-stage investments, and specifically on women-owned businesses, people of color, and young companies and entrepreneurs. Some of the companies the fund has invested in are MasterClass, The Wing, and Brandless. I would love the chance to sit down with her, as we work towards the same cause — to provide opportunity and bridge the gender and diversity gap in venture capital portfolios.

Thank you 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.

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