Forces of Nature

5 min readNov 9, 2020


All Raise is a non-profit whose goal is to significantly increase the amount of seed through early-stage funding going to female founders from 11% to 23% by 2030 and to double the percentage of female decision-makers (e.g. checkwriters) at U.S. tech venture firms with > $25M AUM (assets under management) by 2028.

All Raise held its very much anticipated invitation-only VC Summit last week on October 27–28 and the theme was Forces of Nature. It was a virtual conference that hosted 700 investors. Duygu Oktem Clark, our Venture Partner and founder of DO Venture Partners, was one of the invitees. She described it as likely the most energizing online conferences she had attended, and that it was packed with actionable insights, tips, information, inspiration, and motivation.

This year’s event had 5 keynote speakers, several breakout sessions, and panels that ranged from personal branding to LP relationships to Racial Equity in Tech — all with amazing speakers. Keynotes were on-the-record while breakout sessions and panels were strictly confidential and off-the-record. There were also networking sessions where investors were matched randomly to get to know each other and chat for two minutes.

We asked Duygu to share her takeaways from on-the-record keynotes. And here they are:

Keynote #1: “Speaking Up and Taking Action: How to Be a Catalyst for Change”

Françoise Brougher, Former Pinterest COO and Advocate for Emily Kramer, seasoned marketing executive, and Equal Compensation answered questions from Tina Tchen, Time’s Up CEO. Françoise Brougher sued Pinterest for gender discrimination last August and she shared her experience at Pinterest in her post.

Françoise Brougher: It is proven that when you have more minorities, especially women, in your company, you’ll be more successful, more competitive, and 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability.

Emily Kramer: If you are not adding diversity to the team early, there will be an imbalance on the cap table and in wealth creation.

VCs worry too much about being founder-friendly instead of being employee-friendly.

Keynote #2: Finding Yourself: Fireside Chat with New York Times bestselling author of “Untamed” Glennon Doyle and Ita Ekpoudom, Partner at GingerBread Capital

Glennon Doyle: The goal is no longer to get a seat at the table. The goal is to pull up a chair and then blow up the culture at that table. We have to call out racism and misogyny on the spot. We have to stop worrying about making white men uncomfortable.”

Keynote #3: “Currents of Change: Sparking a Movement Toward Racial Equity in Tech”

Tiffany Dufu, Founder and CEO of The Cru: Sometimes we are successful just because there is no other option. That’s what it means to be a force of nature:

Only 0.6% of venture funding went to Black female founders.

90% of Black founders have another job while building their companies.

80% of Black mothers are breadwinners for their families.

Keynote #4: “Unicorns in Motion”

Rachel Carlson, CEO & Co-Founder of Guild Education, and Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty, answered questions of Heather Fernandez, Co-Founder, and CEO of Solv.

Rachel Carlson: Making waves start with little changes. If we don’t call out the behaviors that make it hard for women to do their best work, we will keep falling back.

Jennifer Tejada: To be a CEO, you have to be empathetic and resilient. You have to be good at a lot of things but also have the self-awareness to know what you are not good at. Blind spots kill companies and ruin leadership careers. I call my board members as soon as something is bothering me.

Keynote #5: Equality is a Team Sport

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and Angel City FC (the 1st majority female-owned / female-led professional sports franchise in history) founding investor Shannon Boxx, two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, Olympic gold medalist, ESPN broadcaster and Angel City FC founding investor Julie Foudy, and Upfront Managing Partner, Angel City FC Founder, and All Raise Co-Founder Kara Nortman, moderated by GV Partner, Terri Burns.

Julie Foudy: What’s the culture you want to be part of? Find something joyful & uplifting and it will feel like you can move mountains.

Kara Nortman: Angel City to me means that anything is possible as long as you believe. This is the first time that we have had a female soccer team that is not associated with a male soccer team. I tie the founding story of Angel City FC to the AllRaise story. Going to the 2015 World Cup was a whole experience. I wanted to get involved. But I was frustrated because I couldn’t find the jerseys for my girls or watch women’s sports on TV!

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Congrats and thanks to Aileen Lee, Jenny Lefcourt, Pam Kostka, and Team All Raise for another amazing event!

Here is our call to female-founded startups: At Maxitech, we are partnering with Bay Area startups to deliver innovative solutions to Isbank Group, one of the largest banks in the EMEA 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!




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