All Raise is a non-profit whose mission is to increase access to the VC community for females. Women remain deeply underrepresented in venture capital. Only 11% of decision makers at U.S. VC firms are women. Approximately 71% of U.S. VC firms do not have female partners. Female-founded companies receive far less venture investment. Only 12% of U.S. VC funds go to teams with at least one female founder. Further, of the $424.7B in tech venture funding raised since 2009 a paltry .0006% went to Latinx women-led startups and .32% of funds went to black women-led startups. All Raise is trying to improve each these ugly statistics in favor of women.
All Raise held an invitation-only VC Summit on November 12–13 in Oakland. With over 600 female VC’s in attendance, the event was billed as the largest gathering of women in VC to date. Our Venture Partner Duygu Oktem Clark attended the summit and we asked a couple of questions to her about this great gathering. Before we go to the questions, we want to reiterate our commitment again: As Maxitech, we are a true believer of equality. We are trying to do our best to contribute to the efforts to make Silicon Valley more welcoming for women. Here is our call to female founded startups: At Maxitech, we are partnering with Bay Area startups to deliver innovative solutions to IsBank Group which is one of the largest banks in the EEMA region. We prioritize female founded startups — if you are a female founder and you believe that your startup may be a good fit to partner with IsBank Group, please reach out to us. We are looking forward to hearing from you! Ok, now here are the questions:
- We know that you are a big believer of All Raise. Why do you think All Raise is so special?
I’ve experienced how few women are in the tech community, and how lonely it can be. I studied computer science where I was one of the 6 female students in my class. As an R&D Manager in one of the biggest telco company of Turkey, I was the youngest manager of the 30,000-employee company and one of the 10 female managers. Then I became an investor and you already know the numbers. I had to fight more than my male peers to get what I want. It has been extra challenging being in the male dominated tech industry. I had been supporting NGOs that aim to encourage young girls to study engineering and have been mentoring female founders when I came across All Raise. It is committed to change the ugly picture of female participation by focusing on the measurable outcomes. It is not just talking; it is actually taking actions to change the tech industry. That’s why I think it is very special.
Last year, I had the chance to mentor 3 female founders on behalf of All Raise at the Tech Crunch Disrupt. They came all the way from Canada and New York to San Francisco. That’s where I noticed that the impact area of All Raise is not just the Bay Area, it is nationwide and even global.
- How was the All Raise VC Summit this year?
It was such a great experience to spend 2 days with 600 great female investors. It was full of learning, new connections and inspiration. I felt like I’m not alone in the industry, I have 600 sisters that have my back. The summit was just great. It was planned over a year and all the details were thought through. All the sessions were worthwhile. All the speakers shared what they learned in their careers in a most sincere way. The sessions that I attended were inspiring informative.
One other great thing was meeting with great VCs. It was great to see the familiar faces and make new friends. I also learned a lot from my chats with other VCs over coffee breaks and lunch time.
- What were your favorite sessions?
All the sessions were great but I really enjoyed “Raising a New Fund & LP Relationships”, “Investing in consumer Businesses”, “Best and Worst Practices in Successful M&A, IPOs and Distributions” and “Trailblazing Women, Unicorn Founders” sessions. They were all packed with great insights, sincere stories and lessons. What I really appreciate is that all the speakers told their stories openly in a way that you cannot hear anywhere else.
It was great to hear Alieen Lee, Founder & Managing Partner of Cowboy VC; Kirsten Green, Founder & Managing Partner of Forerunner VC; Emily Weiss, Founder & CEO of Glossier, Julia Hartz, Co-founder & CEO of Eventbrite, Jenny Leftcourt, Investor at Freestyle VC and other great women.
- What are your takeaways from the Summit?
Well, there are a lot. But in a nutshell: we are not alone as women in tech & VC communities, do not afraid to ask for help, empower other women as much as you can, be bold and do not be afraid of getting out of your comfort zone.
It was such a great experience and I’m already looking forward the next one!