Sunday, November 23, 2014

Keynote at The Refinery: Investing in Women Led Companies - Two Nos and a Yes

Keynote at The Refinery: Investing in Women Led Companies - Two Nos and a Yes

I was honored to be invited to give the keynote at the first Demo Day (well Night actually) for The Refinery. This is a Westport, CT based accelerator focused on women led companies. Kudos to founders Janis Collins and Jennifer Gabler for all that they have achieved with this program.

I wrapped up my talk on "Why Invest In Women" (the main thrust of my talk was actually "Why on Earth Not?") by explaining why I personally favored diverse founding teams crucially with one or more women. I think I surprised some in the audience by posing three possible justifications - of which two were nos and one was a yes.

This is (roughly) what I said:

"You may think I am investing in women led companies because the funding environment for them is inherently unfair. Yes I do think it is inherently biased and I do want that unfairness to be remedied. Indeed I hope what I am doing can contribute to that. But it is not why I am investing in women led companies."

"You may think that I am investing in women led companies because I have three daughters and I want the future environment for them to be a better one should they chose to be entrepreneurs. Well I do most certainly want a more equitable environment for them. Indeed I hope what I doing am can contribute to that. But it is not why I am investing in women led companies."

"I am investing in women led companies because, first and foremost, I am an investor. Not an impact investor. Just an investor. I am not investing in social enterprises. Just scalable no nonsense for profit businesses. My objective is to achieve an above average return on my money invested. By investing in companies with diverse founding teams including women the facts and investing experience suggest that I am more likely to achieve that objective. So yes, that is why I am investing in women led companies."