Silicon Valley Gets a New Diversity Focused VC Firm
Two veteran female investors are leaving their current gigs to start their own fund.
By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)
When it comes to many big-name Silicon Valley venture capital firms, you’re sadly lucky if you get a female partner or two, so wouldn’t it be nice to see more firms that are 100% female led?
Well, your dreams of an all-woman investing team just came true, as Jennifer Fonstad, formerly a partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Theresia Gouw, formerly a partner at Accel and also a former Women 2.0 PITCH Competition judge, have joined forces to form a new firm, Aspect Ventures, which will invest in early-stage deals, the New York Times Bits blog reports.
And it gets better. The two seasoned VCs are explicitly focusing on supporting diversity among the teams they invest in (their other focus will be mobile).
“We think as women we bring a different perspective to the boardroom and these companies in how they approach problem-solving and strategic thinking,” Fonstad told the Times. “It’s clearly not an industry that puts a lot of women in it, and we’re trying in our own way to illustrate how diversity makes a difference.”
But before you get too excited, this development isn’t 100% good news for fans of a more inclusive tech industry. The Times reports:
The investors’ departures from their previous firms leave both without a single woman investing partner in their Silicon Valley offices.
The number of senior women at big venture capital firms has been shrinking across Silicon Valley. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for example, once known for having a larger percentage of women investors than most firms, reorganized late last year, and it now counts two women — Beth Seidenberg and Mary Meeker — among its general partners. The last year the National Venture Capital Association took a census, in 2011, just 11 percent of investing partners were women, down from 14 percent in 2008.
All the more reason to cheer Forstad and Gouw’s new venture then. We’re looking forward to tracking their investments and seeing what impact they can make on the industry.
Photo via Aspect Facebook.
What are your thoughts about this new women-led VC firm?
Jessica Stillman (@entrylevelrebel) is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com, contributes regularly to Forbes and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM and Brazen Careerist, among others.