FounderForward Bootcamp + Five Mistakes All Start-Ups Make

FounderForward Bootcamp + Five Mistakes All Start-Ups Make

Uncategorized

This past week, we had a blast running our FounderForward bootcamp at Soho House WeHo. Thanks so much to all the amazing founders and executives who attended our two-part series “Culture, Team & Leadership”. And a big thank you to our host for having us and writing the below article summing up what we are all about.

Article appeared in HouseSeven — Soho House’s members publication, posted July 12 2017. Written by Lesley McKenzie

Ask Robyn Ward to pinpoint the most common factor behind struggling or failing businesses in the tech world, and the answer is clear. ‘Nine times out of 10, it had to do with poor leadership, poor hiring, poor communication, poor culture — all of which are human elements,’ says the coach and consultant who’s spent two decades in the startup space, on both the operating and investment sides.

‘Uber is the poster child for this. I am on a mission to get founders and founding teams to understand the value of leadership coaching and intentionally designing and cultivating culture and employee experience from the earliest stages.’

It’s why Ward launched FounderForward, a startup consultancy & coaching business that targets the tech sphere. ‘I get to spend my days empowering and enabling people to reach their goals and realize their dreams,’ says Ward, who also teaches a class on entrepreneurship at University of Southern California, and consulted on the Apple show Planet of the Apps.

‘There are more entrepreneurs than ever before and many of these folks who are starting companies and getting funded have little to no work experience,’ explains the former head of new media ventures at United Talent Agency.

‘They have never hired, managed or led teams. So much focus is put on things like product, customer acquisition, customer experience, etc. that often the people elements of growing a company get overlooked.’

This month, Ward is hosting a Founders’ Bootcamp workshop with General Assembly, the educational training tool for the digital age, at Soho House West Hollywood (part one took place yesterday; part two is happening July 18). Here, the tech-world vet shares five of the mistakes she sees startup founders making regularly. Silicon Beach, take note.

1. Chasing Shiny Objects
It is easy to get distracted when exciting and unexpected opportunities come your way or when your board, advisors, team, etc. are constantly sharing new ideas for the business. To be successful, founders must stay disciplined and laser-focused on their goals and vision.
2. Hiring Fast, Firing Slow
Getting the right people on the bus in the right seats is essential. Founders tend to rush into filling roles and then are slow to fire as they think someone doing the work is better than no one. Hiring slow and firing fast will save lots of times, money and headaches.
3. Not Understanding Culture
Too many tech founders think that snacks in the kitchen and beer on Fridays mean they have a great culture. They confuse cool perks with culture. Culture is the DNA or foundation of the company. It is also a direct reflection of the Founder so the Founder must walk the talk and live the values of the company.
4. Lacking Empathy
Poor leaders rank very low in emotional intelligence, which, amongst other things, means they aren’t self-aware and empathetic. However, good leaders understand it is not their job to bring out the best in their employees, but to create the conditions for their employees to bring out the best in themselves.
5. Not Taking Care of Themselves
Founders love to talk about how little sleep they get and how exhausted they are. This is not impressive. As the founder of the company, it is your job to take care of yourself. Self-care makes you more creative and productive. It is a marathon and not a sprint, your job is to make sure you are peak performance for the long haul.

Words Lesley McKenzie

10 Takeaways From My Day in Prison

10 Takeaways From My Day in Prison

Personal Development Uncategorized

Yesterday I went to prison…

I spent the day at a women’s prison with Defy Ventures for their Business Coaching Day. Along with a powerful and warm-hearted group of women (and a few good men), I provided live coaching/feedback to underdog aspiring entrepreneurs in prison to help empower them to transform their lives.

Spending the day with 100 female prisoners (most were mothers, some had been in gangs, one had an MBA from my alma mater and another was a 74 year old who signed up for the program to work on a business idea), re-enforced the following:

1) We are all more similar than different. Our hearts all beat from the same place.
2) We should not be defined by our past. We have all made mistakes.
3) We must forgive ourselves and others to heal and live in peace.
4) We must never ever give up hope.
5) We must learn to be as gentle and compassionate with ourselves as we are with those around us.
6) We must live in the present, as the only time we have is NOW.
7) We are never too old/it is never too late to change, grow, learn.
8) We must avoid making assumptions about others backgrounds, experiences.
9) Empathy is the key to a more harmonious world.
10) Entrepreneurship is color and gender blind.

Many volunteers have written about their day in prison in moving detail. Google them – they are all worth reading and deeply moving. Just keep in mind, reading about others’ experiences can not quite prepare you for how emotionally impactful and rewarding the day will be for YOU. The only real way to understand this is to volunteer! There are several prisons that are part of the program in LA. I plan to stay involved with my new sisters at the women’s prison and will likely be organizing a bus for the next visit. If you are interested, please LMK.

To learn more about Defy’s awesome work and meet some grads (who turn street hustle into legal startups), check out www.defyventures.com.

SCale Talk with Sarah Harden of Otter Media

SCale Talk with Sarah Harden of Otter Media

Founders/Startups

Last month was USC’s inaugural SCale conference (read more here).  I had the honor of interviewing  Sarah Harden, President of Otter Media, the digital video joint venture of The Chernin Group and AT&T. We had a great conversation about Otter’s vision and its various business units, which include Fullscreen, Crunchyroll, and the recently announced Reese Witherspoon partnership called HelloSunshine, among others.  In addition, we discussed cord-cutting, the growing number of OTT players, and the future of ever-changing media landscape.

Sarah is a #BOSS. You can listen to the entirety of our conversation here:

VC Discussion on Diversity & Walking the Talk (SXSW 2017)

VC Discussion on Diversity & Walking the Talk (SXSW 2017)

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

Last month, I had the honor of curating and moderating a VC panel at the TFQ Girls’ Lounge at SXSW.  If you take a look at the video thumbnail below, you will see that this was not your typical investor panel. It was a truly diverse group, made up of:

Christine Herron, Co-lead – Intel Capital Diversity Fund
Sean Jacobsohn, Partner – Norwest Venture Capital
Suzy Ryoo, Venture Partner – Atom Factory and Cross Culture Ventures
Aditi Maliwal, Corporate Development – Google (formerly w /Crosslink Captial)

Much of our conversation was focused on fundraising but, as we were in the TFQ Girls Lounge, we also spent time discussing diversity, or the lack thereof, in the tech industry. I purposefully opted not to recite the dismal statistics of how many women VCs there are or how little money goes to female founders. Constantly regurgitating the numbers is not a way to encourage up and coming entrepreneurs or investors.

It is clear we need more diverse folks at every level of our ecosystem – LPs, VCs, Angels, Founders, Board Members, etc. It will take some time to see significant change but I, for one, am very optimistic. There are a handful of amazing organizations and groups focused on tackling these issues, like Project Include, Pipeline Fellowship, and The Boardlist. Over the past 18 months, just about every major tech company has published diversity numbers, and has committed to finding best practices for attracting and retaining women and people of color. In addition, many notable VCs have been focused on bringing more diversity into their partnerships. There are also more women than ever out raising funds of their own. Again, none of this is easy or happening overnight. As Christine Herron points out, funds have a 10 year life cycle so our industry doesn’t lend itself to quick change. At the end of the day, this is an industry that is driven by returns, and research has proven that women-led companies and companies with women (and other minorities) on their senior teams perform better. The numbers are driving the change and the numbers cannot be ignored.

In our panel discussion, we also talked about diversity and inclusion on a micro level. In other words, what are the steps that each of us can take on an individual basis to impact change in our ecosystem. Suzy Ryoo offered up some specifics, which she had recently shared via a thoughtful blogpost entitled, “The Only Woman in the Room”.

Special thanks to Sean Jacobsohn for joining us on the panel.  As we say at TFQ, if we could have done it alone, we would have by now. It takes men and women working together to impact change.

You can listen to the entirety of the conversation in the video below.

 

 

 

SXSW 2017 – Fundraising Advice From Top VCs

SXSW 2017 – Fundraising Advice From Top VCs

Founders/Startups

This past SXSW, I had the honor of curating and moderating a terrific and diverse panel of investors at the TFQ Lounge.

Christine Herron, Co-lead – Intel Capital Diversity Fund
Sean Jacobsohn, Partner – Norwest Venture Capital
Suzy Ryoo, Venture Partner – Atom Factory and Cross Culture Ventures
Aditi Maliwal, Corporate Development – Google (formerly Crosslink Captial)

Some key takeaways for founders that are fundraising:

  • Be thoughtful in your outreach to VCs – customize your emails (it is obvious when you do not).
  • Do your HOMEWORK – know about the firm and partner you are meeting.
  • Be prepared for your meetings and do not be dependent on your deck. You should know your business and your market inside-out.
  • It’s great you have a plan to get to $50M, but we also want to know how you will get to your first million.
  • Know your market size – bottom up, not just top down.
  • Know your why and be prepared to speak to it.

Watch the clip below for more great advice.

 

A Full Circle Moment / SCale: The Future of Tech & Entertainment

A Full Circle Moment / SCale: The Future of Tech & Entertainment

Founders/Startups

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Yesterday was a special day for USC and the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, as it held its first full-day tech conference at Shutters in Santa Monica. It was also a special day for me. You see, when I was 14 years old I confidently announced to my parents that I would be heading West for college to study entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California.

My announcement caught my parents off-guard because: 1) in Indiana, my hometown, the expectation is that you go to IU, and 2) studying entrepreneurship was not commonplace at that time. It was my sophomore year and I had gotten my hands on the college rankings edition of U.S. News and World Report. I was fascinated by a lengthy spread that discussed a new type of business track, called “entrepreneurial studies,” that was only offered at two schools – Babson and The University of Southern California.  A family trip up the California coast as a child had sparked a love affair with the West Coast so USC became my #1 target.  And a campus visit with my Dad (a Notre Dame football fan who was not thrilled to be on enemy grounds) sealed the deal.

Cut to almost exactly 20 years later (yikes and shhhhh!) and I consider my decision to go to USC to study entrepreneurship the most important and impactful decision of my life to date. I have spent my entire career working with entrepreneurs in the early stage tech space.  Having held just about every role (operator, consultant, advisor, investor, coach), I truly could’t imagine doing anything else.  And as a bonus, I get to co-teach one of the entrepreneurship classes I took two decades ago.

This past year, working on the SCale event, has been surreal and also an incredible honor. With only a small team of amazing Trojans, we pulled off a tremendous day of content and community that perfectly highlighted both the university and the city I love.

SCale covered entertainment, digital media, gaming, esports, AR/VR, and more.  We were fortunate enough to get Bob Iger (Disney), Sarah Harden (Otter Media), Adam Cheyer (Siri, Viv), and Brandon Beck (Riot Games) to join us – to name just a few of the amazing folks we had on stage.  And Eric Garcetti,  the most tech-forward Mayor in the country, also stopped by.  It was truly surreal to have it all come together so wonderfully.  Thanks to all the amazing founders, investors, techies and media & entertainment folks who spent the day with us.

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Yesterday was no doubt the kickoff of what will be an amazing yearly event. USC, with its world-class schools (business, engineering, film, gaming and beyond), has a tremendous impact on the talent and innovation here in Los Angeles. I am both #LongUSC and #LongLA. I cannot wait to see what the next 20 years brings.

#FightON

PS – David, Jeymi, Anthony, Suzy – you are the best! #dreamteam

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PSS – Thanks, as always, to my mom & dad for always supporting me.

The Female Quotient: Insights From Davos Through The March

The Female Quotient: Insights From Davos Through The March

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

Last Sunday, on my flight to the World Economic Forum, I came across an article entitled, “Davos Makes Glacial Progress in Hike Towards Gender Balance”. Having since spent time on the ground in Davos, I am thrilled to report the glacier is thawing and I am confident that next year’s coverage will highlight progress being made.

To its credit, the WEF reached out to The Female Quotient in 2015 as part of its efforts to proactively change the gender ratio (less than 20% women) of its flagship event. In its second year, TFQ at Davos doubled in size and produced three full days of standing room only panel discussions. With participants including Sheryl Sandberg, Paul Polman and Cherie Blair covering topics ranging from “Why Diversity is a Business Imperative” to “Rebooting the Future” to “The Future of Work”, The TFQ Lounge was a “Can’t Miss” destination along the Promenade.

So much ground was covered in three days that a true recap could fill the pages of a Thomas Friedman book (btw, he was on a panel with us this year! #fangirl). Luckily for you, much of the content was taped and will be made available via TheFemaleQuotient.com. In the meantime, below are three topical highlights.

1) Inclusion and Equality in the Workplace – THE HOW:

The general consensus of all discussions was that we have been admiring the problem for the past few years, and now is the time to walk the talk. In the lounge, we heard from executives at some of the companies leading the way, including Salesforce (the gold standard), CA Technologies, Unilever, Facebook, Tradeshift, and more.

Devin Wenig, CEO of eBay, told us he made achieving pay parity part of eBay’s overall business agenda and implemented metrics and targets to measure progress, just as he does any core business agenda. This proved successful as eBay, one of the first public companies to publish pay data, recently announced that it achieved 100% pay parity.

To help move the conversation from lip service to impact, The Female Quotient, in partnership with Catalyst and Atlantic Media Strategies, announced the launch of “The Modern Guide to Equality.” The document, available online here, is a practical starting point for advancing equality in the workplace and is meant to become a living, breathing destination for thought and action-sharing.

2) Leadership in the Age of Millenials and the 4th Industrial Revolution

The definition of leadership, along with the traits that make for a good leader, is changing. As our world is rapidly being reshaped (demographic shifts, industry transformations, advances in technology, science, communication, etc.), we must reshape ourselves, our communities, our companies, and our countries in order to thrive and excel in this new paradigm. Gone are the days of the “carrot and stick” and “command and control” leadership tactics. Compassion, humility, collaboration, inclusion were the phrases most oft-repeated as traits required of leaders.

Indeed, whether they had read The Athena Doctrine or not, CEOs and leaders across Davos were touting the importance of feminine leadership traits. Luckily for us, the author John Gerzema is a friend of TFQ and joined us for a private dinner we threw for CA Technologies in our Lounge.

3) Getting Back to the Basics: The Golden Rule

Also known as the Law or Reciprocity or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” The Golden Rule has been a core tenet of cultures and religions since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, I think we can all agree that, in recent times, compassion and tolerance do not seem to be “ruling” our collective hearts or minds.

The good news: there is a call to action happening now – post 2016 and in response to Drumpf, Brexit, and increases in hate crimes, terror attacks, species extinction, etc. – that humanity band together to accept our differences and to live compassionately and sensitively toward ourselves and others. Put more simply, we’re bringing The Golden Rule back.

For more on this read our amazing panelists’ books:

“Imaginal Cells: Visions of Transformation”, curated by Kim Pollman and Stephen Vasconcellos-Sharpe.

“Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas Friedman.

As I type this I am back on a plane, heading home to LA. It has only been a week, but feels much longer. Not only has the most female-attended World Economic Forum passed, the largest Women’s March/Rally in history has taken place. Both have left me inspired, energized and with a renewed sense of hope and faith in humanity.

The March embodied so much of what was discussed in the TFQ Lounge at Davos. Certainly, it was organized by compassionate leaders across the world and reached epic participation rates (women AND men) because so many of us believe in standing up, and standing together, for inclusion and equality and compassion and love. One of the mantras of the Girls Lounge, which Shelley,  the CEO, repeats often is, “Alone we have power, together we have impact.” Never have those words rang so true.

For those asking what now? The answer is, “we keep at it.”  We stay united, engaged and activated every single day. Creating diversity and equality in the workplace will take time, as will realizing the changes we would like to see in our country and world. I will end by paraphrasing Thomas Friedman’s advice for making it through these challenging times: 1) Play the long game and avoid short-termism, 2) Wake up everyday and be a positive, active force in your immediate community, and 3) Live by The Golden Rule.

Focusing on Your “Inner-net”: Life-changing Insights from an Inspiring Googler Named Gopi

Focusing on Your “Inner-net”: Life-changing Insights from an Inspiring Googler Named Gopi

Founders/Startups Personal Development

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Last week I shared a New Year’s post that suggested 5 books to read asap to prepare yourself for acing your goals and living your best life in 2017. One of those books was, “The Internet to the Inner-Net,” by Gopi Kallayil. Gopi is the Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing at Google and, like many of us in the tech industry, lives a very fast-paced and high-tech existence. In the book, which is a collection of short essays, Gopi shares his adventures in, and lessons for, conscious, mindful living.

In a world in which the Internet is “always on” and clamoring for our attention, Gopi reminds us that, “ …the most important technology is right here, inside us. It is our inner-net, our brain, our body, our mind, our breath, our consciousness – the set of personal technologies that we carry with us everywhere.” His essays are inspirational tales chock-full of actionable ideas for “living consciously, living with full engagement and working with well-developed sciences, such as yoga and meditation…so that we can live in harmony and balance with the outer.”

The book covers topics from optimizing your time (and the myth of multi-tasking) to finding one’s meaning and purpose to the benefits of sleep, gratitude, yoga, and more. Two exercises to try immediately (I am only sharing two – buy the book here!):

1) 5 Essentials: These are the 5 organizing principles for your life. Figuring these out helps you best allocate your time and makes it easy to quickly say “no” to doing things that are nonessential.
2) 10 Things to Do with the Next Hour: If you had one extra hour each day, what would be the next one thing (up to 10 things) you would choose to do with it to maximize your quality of joy, presence and life?

Small Sacrifice for Big Impact

One of the essays in the book is called, “Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact.”  In it, Gopi shares that one year he stopped enjoying expensive Frappuccinos and, instead, used the money to provide monthly loans via Kiva.org. I fell in love with the idea and adapted my own spin to it. As my purpose is to empower entrepreneurs and be a champion of diversity and equality in the tech/business worlds and beyond, I will be making one loan a month to a female entrepreneur chosen via Kiva. I plan to support female entrepreneurs in different countries across the globe, and my intention is to visit these women during my travels. Perhaps one day I will write a book telling their stories of courage, determination and hustle.

For my first loan, I chose to start here at home with Shawna, a mother of four, living in Cape Coral, Florida.  Shawna, who is a serial entrepreneur, is starting a new business that is very near and dear to my heart – it is called Furbabies Rescue and Doggie Daycare.

Go get em’ Shawna!

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#dobetterbebetter
#manifestthebest
#crushyourgoals

 

 

 

 

 

 

My New Year’s + Ideas for Being Your Best in 2017

My New Year’s + Ideas for Being Your Best in 2017

Personal Development

This New Year’s Eve I went to bed at 10:15. Yup, you read that correctly. I have never been asleep on December 31st before midnight…..at least not since I was a small child. And, if you know me, you know I heart ALL the things about celebrating the New Year – friends, wine, music, dancing, shouting, etc.  Well…. I love those things no matter the occasion. But this year, I purposely approached both the end and beginning of the year differently. I celebrated, just in a much different way.

On the last day of 2016 and the first day of 2017, I did a bunch of things that my 30-year old self would have scoffed at. These things, which included Tai Chi, a nature walk, meditation (which, thanks to Headspace I have been practicing consistently) and a drumming circle, culminated in my big New Year’s Eve plan – partaking in my first Sound Bath. Yup, I know I stunned many of you last August when I shared that I went to a Numerologist. And now I have been to a Sound Bath – on New Years Eve no less!

Why? 

My goal was to end 2016 and to begin 2017 with “presence.” When I shared my 30 Days of Self Work Challenge at the end of this past summer, I highlighted 5 things I was working on, with the first being “Dialing back my “doer” and nurturing my “be-er.” I also shared that meditation and spending quiet time in nature were two ways I was getting in-touch with my “be’er.” What better way to truly be present than to create time and space, in a peaceful outdoor space, to spend the final and first days of a year in peaceful reflection and mindful meditation.

Truth be told, part of the reason I was able to “be” over the Holiday is that I had already laid out much of what I aim to “do” in 2017. So, as I floated in the hot springs bath staring up at palm trees and mountains, I was able to focus on breathing in the moment and manifesting my intentions.

Goal-setting

As a Type A personality (like many of you reading this), I am a born goal-setter who relishes the coming of the New Year as a time to assess performance to last year’s goals and create next year’s (whether company or personal).  I don’t really believe in or make resolutions, as they tend to be “loosey goosey” and fade quickly. I am, however, a huge believer in goal-setting. And as a business nerd, my personal goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound). This year I set up my goals around the “Pie” I made last August – where I prioritized the time I aim to allocate to most important areas of my life. I am not going to get into my goals here, only to say I have them and to suggest that goal-setting (short-term and long-term) is a very healthy and worthy exercise. I actually have written my goals, by category, on the first page of my journal (also a new practice) so that I review them nightly.

Intention Setting

This is the first year that I have actually written down my intentions alongside my goals.  If you don’t know the difference:

  1. Goals are focused on the future. Intentions are in the present moment.
  2. Goals are a destination or specific achievement.  Intentions are lived each day, independent of reaching the goal or destination.
  3. Goals are external achievements.  Intentions are your inner-relationships with yourself and others.

If you are like me, and tend to be constantly focused on future achievements, setting intentions is a great way to balance your “do-er” with your “be-er” and to make sure you are prioritizing fulfillment along with achievement (see Tony Robbins). My intentions are also written in my journal for nightly review.

5 Books to Read NOW!

Much of my goal, intention and activity-setting for 2017 was colored by the reading I did in the second half of 2016. I discuss some of the most impactful content in prior posts, but am adding 5 books suggestions here. Reading these will make for a meaningful and empowering start to the New Year and can definitely help you manifest your intentions and achieve your goals.

1) The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
2) The Internet to the Inner-Net by Gopi Kalliyil
3) The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (well-worth a re-read once a year IMHO)
4) Designing Your Life by Stanford Professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
5) Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

These books are chock-full of insights, suggestions and exercises for designing all aspects of your life. Shout out to Tim Ferriss for saving us all a bunch of time and effort by consolidating the thoughts and practices of myriad successful folks across the topic areas of Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.  (Note: 80+% of the Titans in Tim Ferriss’ book meditate)

I couldn’t possible share all the take-aways I plan to implement in the New Year, but I will share one that I just came up with on my “Presence New Year’s” trip. I am sharing it: 1) to hold myself accountable, and 2) because I think it will be a great way to check in with yourself – your work self, your friend self, your relationship self…..your whole self.

Something to do starting NOW

Journaling can be tough. What the hell do you write at the end of the day? Some days there’s lots, some days…. not so much. One element I am adding to my end of day journaling (if you have yet to commit to journaling, you will once you read Tools of Titans), is a nightly review of how I did with the Four Agreements. I read this book 5 years ago and just gave it a re-read. This is profound stuff to live your life by. And Founders, this is stuff to build your company culture upon.

Stay tuned for more posts on things I am trying out this year.  Some will work, some won’t. The goal is to find what works for you and stick with it. Also, if you have new practices you are testing out in the New Year, please share!

Lastly, if you are in need of a break from the cortisol-inducing startup world in 2017 (mini-breaks and saunas are also popular amongst the Titans), I suggest checking out Two Bunch Palms.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
#dobetterbebetter
#manifestthebest
#crushyourgoals

The Tech World Mirrors The Ad World (despite being more Richard Hendricks than Don Draper)

The Tech World Mirrors The Ad World (despite being more Richard Hendricks than Don Draper)

Diversity/Equality Founders/Startups

If you have not read the New York Times article, “Brands to Ad Agencies: Diversify or Else,” you should. The similarities between the Startup and Ad industries are pretty uncanny, except the fact that Silicon Valley looks like this…

And Madison Avenue looks like this…..

In reference to major brands demanding that agencies diversify their teams, the article states, “The efforts reflect a growing concern among marketers that Madison Avenue’s largely white, male leadership may be hindering their efforts to connect with American consumers.” Kudos to Verizon, HP Inc. and General Mills for taking a stand!

In the startup world, there should be (and I hope is) a growing concern among LPs (the folks that fund VCs) that Silicon Valley’s largely, white leadership may be hindering their efforts to connect with – and fund – entrepreneurs/founders. Of course, LPs are mostly white men themselves, adding another layer of complexity to diversifying the startup ecosystem.

Hopefully, the statistics coming out of recent studies will help impact true change. Here are a few:

• Women led startups receive less than 3% of VC funding, yet we know from a Babson study, among countless others, that women women-led, VC-backed tech companies bring in 12 percent higher revenue than similar male-led companies and have a 35 percent higher return on investment.

• Only 7% of VC partners at the Top 100 firms are women, yet a recent study in partnership with PE Hub, VCJ, Women VC, showed that the overall performance of female VCs’ portfolio companies is 3.78x, ahead of the overall industry average. In addition, having more female investors is important, as they are 3x more likely to invest in startups with a woman as CEO.

The NYTimes article also states that, “In order for us to create work that’s more connected with the consumer, it needs to come from a deeper connection to what’s going on in society and what’s going on in culture.” Nothing has the potential to be more transformative to society and culture than technology innovation. Funding and supporting a diverse set of founders and investors (women and people of color) is imperative. The same goes for hiring women and people of color at the big tech companies. By improving diversity across the entire technology ecosystem, we will facilitate more, and better, innovation across the board.

The good news is that both industries have been under intense press scrutiny for the last few years and now seem to be taking action. With major brands leading the way in advertising and folks like Melinda Gates tackling diversity in tech, we are certainly moving in the right direction.

May both industries learn from each other and move forward quickly to impact change. We will, as a society, be better for it.