My full-time job is VC: a little clarification and a little sexism
I’m a VC full-time at Accomplice. I wrote back in February that I was going to be spending more time at one of our portfolio companies, Vesper. I did for a few months, but a lot of people I’ve met recently thought I was still there. I wanted to clarify for a few reasons.
First, the lifeblood of an investor is deal flow, so I need you all to know that I’m here and seeing new companies and have check-writing abilities. Especially for someone who’s new at this like I am, I need all the (good) deals I can get.
Second, the perception still lingers that women who work at VC firms must be doing something other than investing. I still meet people in the context of my job— many of whom are women — who assume that I’m someone’s EA, event planner, marketer, or generally someone who’s not going to make investment decisions.
Most of them aren’t trying to be rude; they’re acting on their schema of an industry that, historically, scarcely employed women as investors. But a few male founders who have come in to pitch my male coworkers and me don’t make eye contact with me the entire meeting, maybe because they don’t think I have any decision-making capability and I don’t matter. They don’t shake my hand when they enter or leave. They do all these things with my male coworkers. Maybe they have a weird relationship with women in their personal lives and find it uncomfortable to look at one in a professional setting. As soon as those men leave, you better believe I make sure my partners (both male and female) know it happened. And no, we’d never invest.
So yes, I have a chip on my shoulder about people assuming that I must not be an investor because I’m female. The assumption that women who work at VC firms don’t hold investor roles is damaging to us. It’s damaging because we depend on the community’s perception that we’re writing checks and open for business to get the introductions and referrals we need to meet the great founders we end up backing. Of course we also need to be great at our jobs to deserve that, too— empathetic towards founders, curious and knowledgeable about the tech we’re backing, good foresight around markets, etc.
As a Principal here at Accomplice, I can back any startup with a seed check up to $2.5M as long as any one of my coworkers on the investment team agrees that it’s worthy. That’s it. No Monday morning meeting with all the partners sitting around a table, no votes, no committees.
I also said in that post back in February that I would be angel investing, and I am. Since February 2017, I’ve backed five companies with angel checks. Some are stealth and some aren’t, so I won’t give names but they span blockchain tech, AR/VR, app infrastructure, security through facial recognition, easier web copy personalization, and better understanding and strengthening your microbiome.
Vesper is doing great: the voice-controlled device landscape is blowing up, they hired a talented VP of Sales and Marketing with MEMS experience to build out their pipeline, and it’s become clear that their product far exceeds their competition’s. Amazon even endorsed Vesper’s microphones publicly on their developer blog. If you’re building a voice-controlled system, Vesper’s mics use far less power and withstand the wear and tear of harsh environments.
If you are or you know an exceptional person working on a massive tech problem (like what Vesper has taken on with its acoustic sensors), email me at sarah (at) accomplice (dot) co. Unless you are a sexist asshole.