Hosting Office Hours - Help Now, Think Later
It has been an interesting month for women in tech amidst the KPCB allegations and the consistent stream of posts and tweets on the lack of female entrepreneurs (despite an increase in the amount of female-led startups.)
I’ve personally spent a lot of time thinking about the gender gap within technology from both ends of the spectrum, startups and venture and have found that we are plagued with the chicken and egg problem. We are struggling to find out which is more important (or if there is a “more” important side) – giving female entrepreneurs guidance or making sure there are more female VC’s? If venture is ultimately about pattern recognition, how can we support female entrepreneurship if the “patterns” we have found successful are male-centric?
There is a lot of work to be done on many fronts but as a female VC myself, a job I am incredibly passionate about, I don’t want to wait for the next big push – I want to help now.
Over the last few months, I’ve met many startups run exclusively by women. What I’ve found is that they need a familiar face – one that exemplifies needed guidance within a zone of comfort. Many female entrepreneurs have built networks around this idea of guidance but have failed to really bring in the perspective of a VC. I think this perspective is necessary.
I have been so humbled by emails of thanks after helping these teams think about how to structure their presentations, pitch to VC’s, and focus on product before marketing and fundraising.
Unfortunately, I only have 24 hours in a day and I can’t help everyone I’d like to. Instead of wading through e-mail requests for meetings, a colleague of mine at Bessemer, Sunil Nagaraj and I decided we would structure our time around office hours (think: advice sessions) once every two weeks to create a “safe space” for entrepreneurs seeking guidance. These advice sessions will be organized around 30-minute intervals on both coasts.
Sunil will represent the West Coast and will be hosting office hours on June 14th. You can sign up for his here.
My first session will be held on June 21st. You can sign up for mine here.
Again, I’d love any and all feedback. This is a work in progress and we want to make this work for YOU (the entrepreneur, the aspiring VC, the student.)
Very excited! Can’t wait to meet all of you.