14 Dec 40 Female Venture Capitalists Breaking Glass Ceilings
It’s no secret that the venture capital investments in the United States are made mostly by men (and mostly for men). In fact, less than 10% of VC decision-makers are female. Surprisingly, these numbers are actually improvements over previous years. But instead of dwelling on how far away parity seems, I want to celebrate these 40 female venture capitalists who are doing amazing work despite the odds! You can also read about the firms these women run, here.
Tricia Black (Amplifyher Ventures)
Tricia Black is the General Partner and Founder of Amplifyher Ventures. Before moving into venture capital, Tricia spent time in several executive sales and marketing roles. Perhaps most notably, Tricia was Facebook’s first VP of Sales and was the company’s 7th employee! She received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island.
Meghan Cross (Amplifyher Ventures)
Meghan Cross is a Partner at Amplifyher Ventures. Before Amplifyher Ventures, Meghan founded Red Bear Angels, a Cornell alumni angel network. She also has strong operational experience, helping companies like Skype and Foursquare in their early days as a PR specialist. Meghan received a B.S. in Fiber Science from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
Jennifer Fonstad (Owl Capital Group)
Jennifer Fonstad co-founded Owl Capital Group in 2019 and previously co-founded Aspect Ventures in 2014. Prior to Aspect Ventures, she spent over 15 years at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Jennifer is consistently recognized for her success in the industry; she has been on Forbes’ “Midas List” twice, was named Deloitte’s “Venture Capitalist of the Year” in 2016, and was named one of “The 50 Most Powerful Moms” by Working Mother in 2017. She received a B.S. from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Theresia Gouw (Acrew)
Theresia Gouw co-founded Acrew Capital in 2019 and previously co-founded Aspect Ventures in 2014. Prior to Aspect Ventures, she was a Managing Partner at Accel. Theresia is consistently recognized for her success in the industry; she has been on Forbes’ “Midas List” nine times, was named to Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” list, was named one of the “40 Most Influential Minds in Tech” by Time Magazine, and was named to the Carnegie Corporation’s “Annual Distinguished Immigrants” list. She received a B.S. in Engineering from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Lauren Kolodny (Acrew)
Lauren Kolodny is a Founding Partner at Acrew Capital. Prior to Acrew, she was a partner at Aspect Ventures. Lauren also worked in product marketing at Google. She is a Trustee Emerita at Brown University, where she served as the university’s youngest board member. In 2016, Lauren was named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 for Venture Capital.” She received her B.A. in International Relations from Brown University, an M.S. in Sustainable Design from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Shruti Gandhi (Array Ventures)
Shruti Gandhi is the Founder and Managing Partner of Array Ventures. She started her career as a software engineer for IBM, spending almost 10 years with the company, before moving into venture capital. She received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Marist College, a Master of Science in Computer Science from Columbia University, and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Arlan Hamilton (Backstage Capital)
Arlan Hamilton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital. Before founding her venture firm, Arlan was actually homeless. The name Backstage Capital is a nod to her background in entertainment management, as she spent several years in the entertainment industry in roles such as tour manager and production coordinator for various artists. Arlan also recently published a book titled: “It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated Into Your Greatest Advantage.”
Christie Pitts (Backstage Capital)
Christie Pitts is a General Partner at Backstage Capital. She has extensive business development experience. Prior to joining Backstage Capital, Christie was the Ventures Development Manager for Verizon Ventures. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University and an M.B.A. from University of Phoenix.
Brittany Davis (Backstage Capital)
Brittany Davis is a General Partner at Backstage Capital. Brittany started her career at Merrill Lynch, but then moved into the startup world, working for companies such as TechStars, Village Capital, and #ANGELS. She even had her own fashion ecommerce startup! She received her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Susan Lyne (BBG Ventures)
Susan Lyne co-founded BBG Ventures. Prior to co-founding BBG, Susan had an impressive career in commerce and media, working for companies such as Gilt Groupe, AOL, Martha Stewart Living, and the Walt Disney Company. She also founded Premiere Magazine.
Nisha Dua (BBG Ventures)
Nisha Dua co-founded BBG Ventures. Prior to co-founding BBG, Nisha was the General Manager of Cambio, AOL’s site for millennial women. She was also Susan Lyne’s Chief of Staff at AOL. Nisha started her career working as an M&A and securities lawyer for Blake Dawson for almost seven years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of New South Wales.
Kara Weber (Brilliant Ventures)
Kara Weber co-founded Brilliant Ventures. Kara has been involved in the venture capital industry since 1999. She began her career in marketing and media, working for companies such as Talking Panda, Mogopop, and Rubicon Project. In addition to her duties at Brilliant Ventures, Kara serves as a mentor for startups in TechStars and MuckerLab. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Williams College.
Lizzie Francis (Brilliant Ventures)
Lizzie Francis co-founded Brilliant Ventures. Lizzie began her career in the media space, working for companies such as Fox Interactive Media and Gilt Groupe. In addition to her duties at Brilliant Ventures, Lizzie is an executive board member for Shoes of Prey. She received her Bachelor’s from Cornell University.
Jamie Schmidt (Color Capital)
Jamie Schmidt is a co-founder of Color Capital. Prior to founding Color Capital, Jamie Schmidt, with her partner Chris Cantino, founded Schmidt’s Naturals. Schmidt’s Naturals was eventually acquired by Unilever. Jamie is consistently recognized in the media, being named as one of Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” in 2017 and 2018, EY’s “PNW Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2017, one of Portland Business Journal’s “Women of Influence” in 2018, and Portland Business Journal’s “Executive of the Year” in 2017. She received her Bachelor’s in Business Management from Michigan State University and her Master’s in Sociology from DePaul University. In addition to her work at Color Capital, Jamie volunteers as an assistant event organizer for Keep America Beautiful.
Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures)
Aileen Lee is the Founder and Managing Partner of Cowboy Ventures. She started her career in investment banking, as an M&A Analyst for Morgan Stanley. Aileen spent over ten years with the well-respected Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers before founding Cowboy Ventures. She received her Bachelor’s degree from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and her M.B.A. from Harvard University.
Aileen also co-founded All Raise, a non-profit dedicated to increasing the investment dollars that go to female founders. Additionally, she coined the term “unicorn,” which is a now-common term used throughout Silicon Valley and beyond to describe a company that is worth more than $1 billion dollars. (I don’t know about you, but knowing that a term frequently used by the “tech bros” of Silicon Valley was actually coined by a woman makes me very happy.)
Arian Simone (Fearless Fund)
Arian Simone is a co-founder of Fearless Fund. Before founding Fearless Fund, Arian founded a successful PR and marketing firm. Arian is also a best-selling author, writing “Fearless Faith + Hustle: 21 Day Devotional Journey” and “My Fabulous & Fearless Journey: From Homeless to Hollywood.” She received her Bachelor’s degree and M.B.A. from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
Anu Duggal (Female Founders Fund)
Anu Duggal is the Founder of Female Founders Fund. Anu definitely has an entrepreneurial spirit. She was a co-partner for The Tasting Room, India’s first wine bar, she co-founded Exclusively.In, an ecommerce company that was acquired by Myntra, and she was CEO of Doonya, a dance fitness media company. Anu is consistently recognized for her success in the industry; she was included in Fortune’s “40 Under 40” list in 2018, named to Business Insider’s “Ultimate List of Female Startup Investors”, and Female Founders Fund was listed as one of the “Top 4 Venture Firms Investing in Women.” She received her Bachelor’s from Vassar College and her M.B.A from London Business School.
Kirsten Green (Forerunner Ventures)
Kirsten Green is the Founder and Managing Partner of Forerunner Ventures. She started her career at Deloitte, then moving into equity research for Bank of America before becoming an angel investor and independent consultant for both private equity and venture capital firms. Kirsten received her B.A. in Business Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Eva Ho (Fika Ventures)
Eva Ho is a General Partner at Fika Ventures. Eva is a serial entrepreneur; she founded Navigating Cancer, a health startup, was a founding executive at Factual, a location data provider, and she was a founding member of All Raise, a community dedicated to accelerating the success of female founders and funders. In addition to her duties at Fika Ventures, she is active in the non-profit space, serving on boards such as California Community Foundation and First Descents. She received her B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and her M.B.A. from Cornell University.
Linnea Roberts (GingerBread Capital)
Linnea Roberts is the Founder and CEO of GingerBread Capital. Linnea had an impressive career in investment banking before moving into venture capital, spending 14 years at Lehman Brothers followed by 11 years at Goldman Sachs. In addition to her duties at GingerBread Capital, she is a trustee (with her husband) of the Roberts Foundation, which aims to alleviate poverty in San Francisco, and she chairs the board of directors of Teach for America. She received her B.A. in Business Administration and Management from Valparaiso University and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago (Booth School of Business).
Ita Ekpoudom (GingerBread Capital)
Ita Ekpoudom is a Partner at GingerBread Capital. Ita started her career at Goldman Sachs, then moved into product management roles for American Express and TravelClick before getting into the venture capital space. She was a venture partner for Plum Alley Investments and she founded Tigress Ventures, a consulting firm. She received her B.A. in Psychology and a certificate in Finance from Princeton University and she received her M.B.A. in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School).
Jesse Draper (Halogen Ventures)
Jesse Draper is the Founding Partner of Halogen Ventures. Jesse created and hosted “The Valley Girl Show,” an Emmy-nominated television series. In addition to her duties at Halogen, she is an angel investor, she sits on several boards, supports the Parkinson’s Institute, and volunteers for the alumni association of the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Theater from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Cindy Padnos (Illuminate Ventures)
Cindy Padnos is the Founder and Managing Partner of Illuminate Ventures. Cindy started her career in management consulting, then spent several years in marketing roles before spending over 20 years in the technology and software space. In addition to her duties at Illuminate Ventures, she sits on several boards, including the Business Board of Advisors for Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper School of Business). She received her Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and her M.B.A. from Carnegie Mellon University.
Jennifer Savage (Illuminate Ventures)
Jennifer Savage is a Partner at Illuminate Ventures. Jennifer has extensive marketing, product marketing, and product management experience, previously working for companies such as Microsoft, DocuSign, and Smartsheet. She received her B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Oregon and she received her M.B.A. in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jennifer Keiser Neundorfer (January Ventures)
Jennifer Keiser Neundorfer is a Founding Partner of January Ventures. Prior to January Ventures, Jennifer co-founded Flashstarts, an accelerator for software companies in emerging technology hubs. She also spent time in business development and product management for 21st Century Fox. She received her B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Maren Thomas Bannon (January Ventures)
Maren Thomas Bannon is a Founding Partner of January Ventures. Prior to January Ventures, Maren co-founded LittleLane, a mobile marketplace for local family activities. She also spent seven years in Marketing for the biotechnology company Genentech. She received her B.A. in Engineering from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Alexsis de Raadt St. James (Merian Ventures)
Alexis de Raadt St. James is the Founder and Managing Partner of Merian Ventures. In addition to her duties at Merian Ventures, she is a Fulbright Commissioner, the founder of the WeInnovate Accelerator at the Imperial Enterprise Lab, a board member of Oxford Foundry, and a board member of Oxford Internet Institute. Alexsis is the former Director of Mergers & Acquisitions for Shell International. She received her Bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin and her Master’s from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Trish Costello (Portfolia)
Trish is the Founder and CEO of Portfolia. She is also the co-founder and CEO Emeritus of the Kauffman Fellows Program, an education and leadership program for venture capitalists. She was previously the President of CVE Capital Corp, a venture capital fund of funds. Trish also previously directed the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship at Babson College.
Jenny Abramson (Rethink Impact)
Jenny Abramson is the Founder and Managing Partner of Rethink Impact. She started her career at Boston Consulting Group and held leadership positions at companies such as LiveSafe, The Washington Post, and Personal. In addition to her duties at Rethink Impact, Jenny is a board member for organizations such as Winnie, NFL Players Association, FutureFuel.io, Sempre Health, and Ellevest. Jenny was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Powerful Women” and was also named a “DC Tech Titan.” She received her B.A. in Politics and her Master’s in Sociology from Stanford University. She received her M.B.A. from Harvard University and was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics.
Heidi Patel (Rethink Impact)
Heidi Patel is a Managing Partner at Rethink Impact and sits on the boards of Spring Health and Ketos. She started her career in investment banking, working for Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston. She then worked for AOL Time Warner Ventures and Pacific Community Ventures before becoming President of New Island Capital Management. In addition to her duties at Rethink Impact, Heidi co-teaches a course (that she co-created) on impact investing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. She received her Bachelor’s from Princeton University and her M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Pocket Sun (SoGal Ventures)
Pocket Sun is a Founding Partner of SoGal Ventures. She also founded SheVC, the first community of female investors in Asia. Pocket is consistently recognized for her success in the industry; she has been on the cover of Forbes Asia magazine as a “30 Under 30 in Venture Capital” and was selected as one of LinkedIn’s “Top 10 Voices in VC & Entrepreneurship.” She received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The College of William and Mary and her Master’s in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business).
Elizabeth Galbut (SoGal Ventures)
Elizabeth Galbut is a Founding Partner of SoGal Ventures. She started her career consulting for Deloitte. Elizabeth also founded A-Level Capital, a student-led venture fund powered by Johns Hopkins University students. Elizabeth was an honoree on Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Venture Capital” list in 2018. She received her B.A. in Economics and Government from Georgetown University, her Master’s in Design Leadership from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University (Carey Business School).
Amy Wildstein (Springboard Growth Capital)
Amy Wildstein is the Managing Partner of Springboard Growth Capital. Amy started her career by spending over five years in investment banking, working for the Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley. She then spent 17 years at Boldcap Ventures before co-founding Springboard Growth Capital. She received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Additionally, she serves as a board member of UM Social Venture Fund, the University of Michigan’s student-led impact investing fund.
Clara Brenner (Urban Innovation Fund)
Clara Brenner is a co-founder and Managing Partner of the Urban Innovation Fund. Previously, she was co-founder and CEO of Tumml, an urban venture accelerator and startup hub. Clara was listed as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship” in 2014. She received her B.A. in History from New York University and her M.B.A. from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management).
Julie Lein (Urban Innovation Fund)
Julie is a co-founder and Managing Partner of the Urban Innovation Fund. Previously, she was co-founder and President of Tumml, an urban venture accelerator and startup hub. Julie was named as one of Living Cities’ “25 Disruptive Leaders” in 2016. She received her B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University and her M.B.A. from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management).
Lori Cashman (Victress Capital)
Lori Cashman is the Founder and Managing Partner of Victress Capital. She was previously a Principal for Seidler Capital Partners and a VP for Heritage Partners before co-founding Lineage Capital. In addition to her duties at Victress Capital, Lori sits on the board of several organizations such as Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy, Camp Harbor View Foundation, Derby Academy, and Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership. She received her B.A. from Duke University and her M.B.A. (through an accelerated program) from Boston University (Questrom School of Business).
Suzanne Norris (Victress Capital)
Suzanne Norris is a Managing Partner at Victress Capital. She started her career in investment banking with Robertson Stephens. She spent over six years with Kate Spade in ecommerce roles and spent over five years in management consulting with SRN Consulting before joining Victress. Suzanne is a board member of Derby Academy and The Winsor School, as well as a board observer for Alyce. She received both her B.A. and M.B.A. from Harvard University.
Shelley Zhuang (11.2 Capital)
Shelley Zhuang is the Founder and Managing Partner of 11.2 Capital. Shelley was previously a Principal for Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the EVP of Business Development for Ecoplast Technologies. She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Missouri at Columbia and her P.h.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Tracy Chadwell (1843 Capital)
Tracy Chadwell is the Founder and Managing Partner of 1843 Capital. She was previously a Partner at Baker Capital. Tracy was named as one of Forbes’ “8 Women VC’s to Know” and was named Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Powerful Women.” She received her Bachelor’s from Trinity College at Hartford and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Christine Tsai (500 Startups)
Christine is the Founding Partner and CEO of 500 Startups, growing 500 Startups to over $500M of committed capital and over 2,300 portfolio investments since the firm’s inception. Christine was previously a Product Marketing Manager for YouTube and spent over seven years in product marketing and operational roles at Google. She received her B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
I can’t read about these amazing women without getting inspired and feeling more hopeful for the future. If you’re as interested in venture capital and I am, then I’m sure you’ve heard about many of these women, but I hope I showed you some new ones, too!