How A New Investment Group Led By Female Twitter Execs Could Help Solve Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem

The tech world desperately needs more female-led investment groups. #Angels may become a powerful player.

How A New Investment Group Led By Female Twitter Execs Could Help Solve Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem
[Angels: Yu Lan via Shutterstock]

Ask women who run startups about venture capital and they might respond with an exasperated sigh. It’s a well-documented fact that it’s much easier to break into the hyper-competitive tech world if you’re a man, and there is a dearth of female-led VC funds, with only a handful making an impact. Meanwhile, old guard firm Kleiner Perkins—where women have been invited to the table—is in the middle of a high-profile discrimination trial.

But today saw the introduction of what may eventually become a powerful player in the tech world. A team of six current and former female Twitter employees announced the launch of #Angels, an investment group that’s committed to growing startups in various fields. Members include general counsel and secretary Vijaya Gadde, vice president of global media Katie Jacobs Stanton, former director of product April Underwood, and VP of global business development Jana Messerschmidt.

“Every company will be a technology company,” says the team’s inaugural blog post. “And the lessons learned from building a company like Twitter are relevant to an increasingly wide range of products, businesses, and industries.”

The founding of #Angels also lends credence to the increasingly popular belief that it is possible—maybe even best—for female entrepreneurs to circumvent male-led VC funds, incubators, and accelerators entirely. In fact, this movement has gained serious traction with the rise of accelerators like Women’s Startup Lab and Y Combinator’s Female Founders Conference, the latter of which is exclusively run and attended by women.

“We’re focused on funding the best teams pursuing the best ideas just like any other investor,” Messerschmidt told Re/code. “That said, we’re all personally very passionate about diversity in technology and we’ll share more when we have a broader story to tell on that front.”

Join Fast Company for a live chat tomorrow at 11 a.m. as Leadership editor, Kate Davis, discusses the state of funding for female-led startups with Female Founders Fund’s Anu Duggal, and RedRover CEO and founder Kathryn Tucker.

About the author

Nikita Richardson is an assistant editor at Fast Company magazine.

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