Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?
You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Lindsay Kaplan co-founded Chief, a private membership network created to connect and support women executive leaders. Rachael Palmer, co-founder of Google’s Black Founder’s Fund and The Black Angel Group, sets her sights on advising, empowering, and investing in POC founders and Susanne Najafi, Co-Founder of BackingMinds.
(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)
<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>
Three successful panelists shared their experiences in creating inclusive networks for underrepresented groups, overcoming challenges in breaking into exclusive networks, and networking strategies and approaches. Action items include implementing a grant program for accessibility, increasing representation of women of color, creating identity groups, and expanding the network to include women on the way up.
<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>
Introduction and Background of Panelists' Networks
- Lindsay, co-founder of chief, created an executive network for women to support each other and overcome exclusion from old boys' clubs and closed networks.
- Rachael co-founded the Black Founders Fund and Black Angels Group to address the lack of funding and diversity in the startup ecosystem.
- Susanne founded Backing Minds to invest in founders outside of homogeneous networks and help them access capital and opportunities.
Creating Inclusive Networks for Underrepresented Groups
Subheading: Chief's Mission and Approach
- Chief aims to change the face of leadership by providing a supportive community and education for executive women.
- They focus on diversity and inclusion, setting goals to increase representation of women of color in their network.
- Chief actively reaches out to women and implements grant programs to ensure accessibility.
Subheading: Black Founders Fund and Black Angels Group
- The Black Founders Fund was created to seed startups led by black founders and prove that successful founders can look different from the traditional white male.
- The Black Angels Group focuses on diversifying the investor landscape by supporting black angel investors from earlier stages.
- Both initiatives address the two-sided problem of limited funding for black founders and lack of diversity among investors.
Overcoming Challenges and Breaking into Exclusive Networks
- The tension between having a community for underrepresented groups and the need to break into rooms dominated by white men is acknowledged.
- Networking with white men is essential for raising capital, but joining exclusive clubs and communities can provide support and nurturing.
- Building relationships with allies who can push individuals into exclusive networks can be valuable.
Funding and Geographical Considerations in Networking
Subheading: Changing the Profile of Funders and Investors
- The majority of venture capital goes to white male founders, highlighting the need to change the profile of funders.
- Investors are starting to recognize the potential for better returns and positive change by investing in diverse founders.
- LPs are demanding diversity targets from funds, leading to a shift in the industry.
Subheading: Overcoming Geographic Challenges
- Geographical hubs like London, New York, and San Francisco have more access to networks, but efforts should be made to expand beyond these locations.
- Globalization and virtual platforms like Zoom have helped break down geographical barriers and facilitate networking.
- Founders outside of major hubs can leverage their local networks and make extra efforts to connect with investors and communities in larger cities.
Networking Strategies and Approaches
- Building relationships and nurturing connections is emphasized over transactional networking.
- Hustling, attending events like Slush, and leveraging LinkedIn are effective ways to network and meet potential partners, investors, and allies.
- Approaching strangers, being friendly, and broaching awkwardness can lead to meaningful connections.