Susan Mason, General Partner at Aligned Ventures, talks about the dysfunctions of the broader venture capital model, and what her firm is doing to address those. Excellent conversation, please listen.
Heidi Roizen, Operating Partner at DFJ, discusses her important article, “How to Build a Unicorn From Scratch – and Walk Away with Nothing,” and imparts crucial lessons to entrepreneurs on how to look at terms in a venture financing situation.
Heidi and her co-founder have bootstrapped WebPT to significant traction, then raised a small angel round. 2016 revenue was $40 million. The company has sold 51% stake to private equity and the founders have already experienced significant liquidity. Excellent story of a female entrepreneur who doesn’t make excuses. She just executes.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Heidi Jannenga: I was born in Texas to two immigrant parents. My dad immigrated from Austria and my mom is a first-generation American born in Hawaii. She’s Japanese. We moved to Winter Park, Florida when I was six years old. I was a multi-sport athlete in high school. I ended up playing basketball in college at UC Davis in Northern California. I injured my knee in my junior year. >>>
Ann Winblad, Co-founder of Hummer Winblad, is one of the most successful women VCs in our industry, and as I mentioned in my introduction, I have never heard her whining about bias against women. One of the most encouraging things she discussed today is how her firm is sourcing interesting ventures from all over the world, not just Silicon Valley. Mulesoft, one of their hot portfolio companies, had its CEO based in Malta, originally!
There is a myth in the startup eco-system that women entrepreneurs do not build billion dollar companies.
This is a MYTH.
Watch this inspiring 1 minute 33 second video of how Therese Tucker did build one:
In case you missed it, you can listen to this roundtable here:
During this week’s roundtable, our guest was Janet Kosloff, Co-Founder and CEO, InCrowd. Janet has bootstrapped her company, then raised about $2.5 million in funding and will hit $10 million in revenue in 2016. She shared insights from her journey.
As for the pitches, first up was Andy Williams from Nairobi, Kenya, pitching Nobeah, a marketplace for African entrepreneurs to connect with VCs, angels, impact investors, etc. It feels like a social good type of agenda, which is not always consistent with investor returns, so the core focus of the marketplace needs to be defined more precisely.
Then, Manisha Kad from Pune, India, pitched Saadh. Manisha’s core competency is embedded system software development, especially in the domain of sensors. She needs to focus her service business in that domain very precisely, and learn the methodology of how to build a business.
In case you missed it, you can listen to the recording here:
During this week’s roundtable, our guest was Stephanie Leffler, CEO of OneSpace. Stephanie has done a prior successful, bootstrapped venture from St. Louis and exited it. This time round, she has bootstrapped to about $350k in revenue and then raised venture capital from Highland Capital and others. Stephanie is a damn compelling entrepreneur. She doesn’t believe there is bias against women entrepreneurs in the tech industry.
Then, Sumedha Mupparapu from Pune, India, pitched her concept of a marketplace for renting books. We brainstormed about segmentation, logistics, and financials, and I advised her to model each carefully to gauge whether the cncept is viable given her assumptions.
You can listen to the recording of this roundtable here:
Stephanie bootstrapped her first company to $20 million in revenue from St. Louis. Her second, also from St. Louis, is venture-funded and crossed $10 million in revenue last year. Awesome entrepreneur, inspiring woman!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Stephanie Leffler: I am from Northern Virginia in Fairfax. I was actually born and raised there. Ultimately, I went to school at Washington and Lee University. I found my way to St. Louis as part of my entrepreneurial journey. I’ve lived here ever since. >>>