Here’s something you don’t hear out of Silicon Valley that often: Two women are starting their own venture-capital firm.
Jennifer Fonstad and Theresia Gouw, both veteran investors, will lead Aspect Ventures, a firm that will invest in early-stage startups in the mobile technology market. According to this report in ReCode.net, the partners say the new firm will “provide a diverse, fresh perspective in the technology entrepreneurial community.”
That’s welcome news. Only 11% of investors are women, according to a 2011 survey by the National Venture Capital Association. When you’ve got so many white-guy investors, it’s perhaps not a coincidence that most venture-funded startups are similarly led by white males. Remember when Twitter decided to go public without a single woman on its board?
Fonstad and Gouw told The Wall Street Journal that Aspect Ventures will be “gender-blind” in its investments and hiring. But at the same time, they cited quite a few statistics on how companies with female executives and board members are more likely to succeed. (For instance, they’re well-aware of a 2012 study by Dow Jones VentureSource, which found that companies have a greater chance of going public and operating profitably when they have female founders, board members, C-level officers, vice presidents or directors. )
Our own research at The Story Exchange through our 1,000 Stories project has found some interesting stats about women. Notably, most women say they’re compelled to start their own business because they want to make a difference in the world. Silicon Valley, with all its focus on profits and wealth generation, could maybe use a dose of female compassion.
Just by launching their own firm, Fonstad and Gouw are already shaking things up in the VC world’s boy club. We look forward to seeing what their “diverse, fresh perspective” brings in years to come.
Image credit: TechCrunch
Posted: February 5, 2014