So You Want to Be an Investor? 500 Startups Wants to Help

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Closing the gender gap means we need more female investors, too.

By Betsy Mikel (Editor, Women 2.0)

When we last spoke with Christine Tsai, managing partner at 500 Startups, she had a challenge for women in tech: Don’t leave it up to men to fund more female founders. Women can fund startups, too. Achieving 50/50 parity means we all have to chip in, on both sides of the table, as founders AND as investors.

“You don’t need the net worth of Elon Musk to invest,” Christine said. “If you’re working at Google or Facebook and have been there for a few years and you’re not scraping for cash, think about how you could best spend an extra $5,000-10,000.”

Yesterday, 500 Startups announced how they hope to help make that happen. They’re offering a 50% Tuition Scholarship to women applicants to their new Insider’s Guide to Silicon Valley Investing program.

It’s a two-week training course that 500 developed in partnership with the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Co-led by Stanford faculty and 500’s Dave McClure and Bedy Yang, IGSVI is essentially a crash course in the 500 secret sauce -- how they make investments, how to tap into their global investor network and how they got so badass.

When 500 first announced the program at the end of March, they saw lots of high-quality applicants. But there was a problem. Most of them were men.

“Although we are truly satisfied with the quality, we saw a gender disbalance of the pool of applicants,” 500’s Bedy Yang said in a blog post. “Given that only 6 percent of venture capital consists of women partners, this is something we want to change.”

So now, they’re offering to cover half the cost of female applicants who are accepted to the program. And they want all founders, mentors and investors to help them find amazing women to be part of the first IGSVI class. The class starts May 5, so get moving if you’d like to apply. Do you want to become an investor (or become a better investor?) Do you know someone who’s interested in investing? Then send them to Bedy Yang (bedy@500.co).

City Meetup San Francisco will be hosted and sponsored by 500 Startups (May 7th). Get your tickets now.


About the author: Betsy Mikel is the managing editor of Women 2.0 and runs the content consultancy Aveck. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a lifelong obsession with French language and culture. When she's not biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym.