Old Boy Network? Forget it. Try the Old Girl Network
Last night, a local group, the Women's Technology Cluster, met to award the venture capitalists who made the most efforts to invest in women-led companies.
And for the second year in a row, Jennifer Fonstad, managing director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson is getting the honors, making her the only person in Silicon Valley to achieve that. So now it is women who are finding the women to invest in.
And while the organization has hundreds of members, it was Vernetti's own network that defined the search. Where did Vernetti turn while searching? Well, to her past contacts, of course, where she landed upon the same woman she'd recruited to a start-up incubation firm, Garage Technology, where Vernetti had worked earlier. Now, of course, the FWE board approved her selection -- so yes, there are checks on this network! -- but point is that insiders dominate this female network, too.
Vernetti, we might add, is pretty tough. She dominates on the basketball court, once giving a black eye to Kleiner Perkins partner Russell Siegelman. She played Division I NCAA basketball player at Saint Mary's College. (We once invited her to the Mercury News' Thursday outdoor basketball session, and she ran circles around us; She prefers 5:30am rough-and-tumble at the Pacific Athletic Club with more cut-throat VC types.)
Here's the latest study suggesting women are making headway, despite the fact that they still participate in fewer numbers than guys do:
Women entrepreneurs outperformed men raising angel investments, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.
Women-owned ventures account for 8.7 percent of the entrepreneurs seeking angel capital, a low number, as you might expect. But 33 percent of these women entrepreneurs received angel investment in 2005, while the overall rate was only 23 percent, according to the study.
We're not sure how to interpret this. It is unlikely to reflect bias toward women. What it could reflect is that women are more likely to have their act together before going out to raise cash.
Links to blogs that reference this entry: