From Winged Pink Unicorns to Exits, 2021 was a Banner Year for Womxn Innovation Economy

From Winged Pink Unicorns to Exits, 2021 was a Banner Year for Womxn Innovation Economy

The innovation economy is driven by passion, creativity, impact & economic growth, from the founders who invent a cure, democratize a system, fill an unmet need, solve a global _____ (fill in the blank, environmental, economic) crisis to the investors who fund the best innovations with the most aligned product-market fit for significant financial gain and impact to the change they want to see in the world. Innovation can lead to higher productivity, an essential driver of economic progress benefiting consumers, businesses, communities and the economy as a whole. However as many know, there is a gender and racial gap in all areas of our innovation ecosystem. As a gender-lens collection, we have leveraged unprecedented capital, catalyzed the power of womxn investors, and womxn founders have continued to close the gender gap while shifting patterns of innovation recognition for sustained impact.

A snapshot of the womxn innovation economy of 2021

Womxn innovation economy graphic

Even though 2021 has been an incredibly difficult year for many, our notions of self-care, corporate culture, education, and sustainability are still in complete flux. As a proponent of an abundance mindset and as an avid innovation analyst, I couldn’t help myself, I had to create an impact snapshot for the gender lens advocates who strive for equity. Data informs decisions, helps anchor missions, and fuels visions. Let’s dive into gender lens data and anecdotes from Seed stage to IPOs, understanding the trends and the breakthroughs (yes, I am talking about the innovation ecosystem and NOT the COVID-19 surges and resurges).

Womxn Invest in Womxn

I’m going to start with the solution upfront. It seems simple, more decision-makers in this innovation economy, VCs, investors, need to be women. I’ve read that over and over again. I believe that when you have more women investors, they will undoubtedly invest in more women. We know that a recent ACA (Angel Capital Association) American Angels Report says that women investors are twice as likely to invest in women-led startups. The gender gap is not due to the low performance by the female founders, because they outperform their male counterparts by 63% (First Round Capital), it’s not that women don’t start enough companies (42% of small businesses are womxn-owned), and it’s sure not the performance of women fund managers because they made huge strides in performance and number in 2021. “Even after adjusting for risk, female-managed funds have outperformed their counterparts amid the pandemic-related market swings,” Goldman strategists led by David Kostin wrote in a note to clients. The tech sector “is the largest source of disagreement between female-managed and all other large-cap mutual funds.”

It’s about breaking bias patterns in traditional settings where women are not seen as leaders while balancing being not too warm and nice nor showcasing delicately competence and toughness and not selected for investment due to ingrained patterns of successful male founders who have exited (IPO or acquisition). It’s about more women at the table making decisions about funding and impacting this world through innovation. I well know there are more ways than these that we can solve this gender gap, but if we just focus on neutralizing bias, having more success stories, and exercising the power of the purse from seed to exit, we will continue to make significant strides.

The womxn economy is thriving in 2021.

Activated capital at the hands of womxn investors means a huge potential increase in funding to women-led startups. As many women investors, over 10 years ago were swimming uphill in having a gender lens in their portfolios, like myself and others like my mentors, Angela Lee of 37 Angels, Trish Costello of Portfolia, and Alicia Robb of Next Wave Impact Fund, we have been steadfast in our individual convictions that investing in women-led companies who are making an impact on this world with translational innovations or products, I absolutely love this quote from another trailblazer, Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures, “This isn’t charity”. We all want higher financial return that the typical, we have higher expectations of capital-efficient models by the founders we support, we want to impact more, and support the womxn economy.

“This isn’t charity”

– Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures

In the seed stage, angel investors are more diverse than VCs, with 22.1% of US angel investors being womxn (pre-covid). From the ACA report, 29% of female CEOs were female in 2020. Therefore angels are narrowing the gender gap by investing in more diverse founders than ever before. With movements like Founders of Color Showcase by Next Wave Impact & others, to the ACA’s new initiative to bring more diverse angel investors to the table and many more, diversity funds diversity, and traditional investment patterns are also aware of the increasing financial and ESG returns. 

Womxn investors have also been super activated in the last 5 years, with 30% of new angels being women and 76% of women-led VC firms being started in the last 5 years with many more emerging in 2021 alone and more to come in 2022. Our team at Stella is continuing our mission-driven work with all of our offerings to entrepreneurs and investors under one umbrella,, with a dream team of gender lens leader investors & advocates, Raven O’Neal, Lauren Rowley, Flossie Hall, April Enriquez, Stephany Russell, Christine Lustig, Anna Raptis, Debbie Chen, Andrea Giralt, and Kirby Brady.

San Diego Innovation Ignites Impact

As an avid supporter of my own ecosystem in San Diego, I wanted to pause and acknowledge all the hard work so many people have made in our ecosystem for it to thrive and grow, but 2021 was a HUGE year for San Diego with women founders inching their way more into the mainstream innovation success stories.

  • 82 local startups pulled in $2 billion in venture funding during Q2 2021 and 66 startups raised $3.5B in Q1 2021
  • The San Diego innovation economy is healthy, thriving & growing
  • The San Diego-Tijuana region won historic designation to become 1st binational design capital for 2024
  • Womxn founders & CEOs rock SD innovation economy from seed to exit

From Seed to Exit here are some notable women-led companies in San Diego who are rockin’ (in order of funding stage):

  • Nostalgia, founded by Taylor Fields – Seed round closed 12/2021, successfully running a Wefunder campaign
  • Cooler Heads, founded by Kate Dilligan – FDA clearance in 12/2021, raising Series A in early 2022.
  • Hydrostasis, founded by Debbie Chen – Conducted consumer pilot testing & closed Seed+ round in 2021
  • Luna DNA, founded by Dawn Berry – Raised a total of $8.6M in funding over 3 rounds. 
  • Aquacycl, founded by Orianna Bretschger – Secured Fortune 50 company contracts and closed $5M+ funding in 2021
  • Dermala, founded by Lada Rasachova – won  Cosmopolitan‘s 2021 Holy Grail Acne Award with their patented, microbiome-powered OAT So Sweet™ Daily Moisturizer was selected by Cosmo as the BEST MOISTURIZER!
  • Truvian, founded by Dena Marrinucci – Closed a $105M Series C round in 3/2021
  • Uqora, co-founded by Jenna Ryan – Acquired by Pharmavite, the makers of Nature Made® vitamins and supplements, in 7/2021 and honored as a best place to work in San Diego in September 2021

Womxn Founders are breaking records in 2021, but disparities still exist

The pandemic hit womxn founders harder than all-male teams, women began outpacing national and historical trends so by the end of 2021, womxn-led companies broke records & challenged trends. Even though the womxn became the number one caretakers in their children & family care, and the strengths of womxn founders shined, like being more capital conscious, exiting faster, and getting higher returns. The tides are shifting.

Womxn innovation economy testimonials graphic

Public markets gained unprecedented gender gains

Since 2013, over 2,000 companies have gone public in the USA, only 18 of them had a female founder/CEO.

That is less than 1%

Making history this year, Bumble’s founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd became the youngest female CEO to take a company public in America.

5 women-led companies went public in 2022, the most since 2013.

  • Bumble
  • Vimeo
  • Rent The Runway
  • FIGS
  • 23 & Me

However, only 7% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. These wins at the public markets are huge for progress, but as we have companies grow, representation matters as well. These women are trailblazers, so as we champion more leaders as women, provide opportunities for diverse ways of thinking and servant leadership rises, more cognitive diversity will be seen in leadership positions for more innovative growth in the increasingly competitive global markets.

Let's talk unicorns: 2021 Set a Record for New Female-Led Unicorns

Why is this important? Again, patterns are changing. Having more female-led unicorns signals to the VC market that there are more bets to be made on female-founded companies who have, now, a higher degree of success to make it to the coveted unicorn list. In addition, diversity of sector is being seen in the growing herd of unique unicorns, consumer retail luggage manufacturer Away in 2020, mattress retailer Casper, beauty brand Glossier, and sneaker marketplace Goat.

  • 39 US women-led unicorns emerged in 2021
  • “Unicorns” are venture-baked companies worth $1 billion+, a term coined by VC Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, in 2013.
  • Number of women-led unicorns has increased 425% in seven years
  • YET STILL only 11.4% of total unicorns

VC markets are surging around the world, with more money being deployed to a homogeneous set of startup founders who fit the “right” success factors of a unicorn or a desired exit multiple. However, 2021 has shattered these patterns.

COVID-19's impact on Womxn CEOs widened deal activity & valuation gap

The toll of the 2-year pandemic on womxn extends beyond layoffs across the board, womxn turning to entrepreneurship to lessen the load, and women leaving the workforce, to the venture capital funding of female entrepreneurs. Let’s just take the salaries of these success stories emerging in 2021. This title of a recent Inc magazine says it all: “Female Startup CEOs Cut Their Salaries 30 Percent During the Pandemic. Men Gave Themselves a Raise”:

  • Female CEOs earned 93 cents to every dollar earned by a male CEO in 2019, but post-pandemic they are making only 89 cents.
  • Of the 2.7% of VC funding to women founders, only 2% of the female founders who raised equity financing were Latinx (0.32% of total) and 4% Black (0.0006% of total)

I find in investor meetings with founders, the use of funds is brought up many times, dissecting every decision that is being made by the founder from R&D to salaries. In this competitive market, to keep the best of the best actually in their startups, founders should not be diluted to a place they are not incentivized and founders should be paid what they are worth (of course as soon as enough funding is raised to support salaries). This is not just a numbers game, but a mindset shift of leadership and the VC decision-makers to be aware of bias, the data trends, and act on having better discussions with founders.

Let’s get back to some positive impact stats – to better align individual behaviors to the collective good.

  • Women lost more jobs than men and took on a greater share of the additional child care burden.
  • Reports say that Covid set back efforts to close the gender gap by 36 years.
  • An average size of a VC deal for all-female teams was $6.8 million in 2020, compared to $18.7 million for all-male teams.

From new products and services, to adapting to an increasingly digital status quo, we’ve witnessed female-led businesses show even more resilience in the face of the global economic downturn.

– Ann Cairns, Global Vice Chair, Mastercard

A banner year of womxn-founded co. exits

Indeed, investors can achieve higher returns for quicker turnarounds by investing in womxn founders.

  • Women-founded companies outperformed overall market trends for exits in 2021: Almost $59 billion was sold off through Q3, of 2021, 143.6% higher than 2020's level, while the overall market is up 101.5%
  • This is an amazing trend of how quickly womxn-founded companies exit has strengthened, from 2018, when the median “time to exit” was about 7 years for either gender, in 2021, time to exit for womxn-founded companies decreased to 6.6 yrs and increased to 7.7 yrs for all USA companies.

So much more work to be done

It’s evident that across all tech sectors, there is more representation of women, more unicorns being birthed every year led by womxn, an increased number of womxn being invested in at all stages and with higher amounts of funding, the gender gap in venture capital, angel investing and the startup ecosystem is still gaping wide.

Women are championing other women.

“Still too small, but woohoo to these awesome firms! (speaking about Acrew Capital, Inspired Capital Partners, & Fika Ventures) Female-founded U.S. venture firms on track to raise over $7B In 2021”

– Eileen Lee, Founder Cowboy Ventures

Dollars going to women at the seed round are in the 20s (the highest of all the gender gaps in the innovation economy), in the single digits for VC investment dollars going to women, and in the teens for the number of decision-makers at US venture capital firms being womxn.

  • 9% of VC investment dollars went to companies with at least one female founder.
  • 10% of decision-makers at US venture capital firms are women
  • Female partners represent 13 percent of partners at U.S. venture firms with funds above $25 million, and 64 percent of the firms have no female partners. (All Raise)

Why does this gender gap exist? When we know that womxn investors invest in womxn founders twice as much, getting more women decision-makers at all levels of the VC ecosystem, from Seed to Series D. More women-led companies need to join the unicorn list to re-print the pattern of most investors that successful startup founders ARE indeed women. More IPOs of companies lead by women will led the way to similar pattern breaking and re-aligning the bias.

There is hope if awareness is heightened & bias is neutralized

There is value in funding womxn founders if investors track the trends, their awareness is heightened to these issues and bias is neutralizing.

  • Teams comprised entirely of female founders exist (sell or go public) faster, in less than 7 years on average, compared to the nearly 8 years on average it takes all-male-founded teams to exit.
  • Female founders sell or go public at higher valuations, on average
  • The new, female-founded VC funds, equipping not only new emerging managers but engaging diverse LPs have a specific focus on tapping into the often-overlooked opportunity in backing diverse founders.

Let this quote sit with you a bit…

“So if women-led companies were a country & if you looked at that revenue being the gross domestic product, they would be the 5th largest country in the world. They’d be just behind Germany, but ahead of France, UK & Italy”

– Lorine Pendleton, Portfolia, Rising America Fund

Our early-stage portfolio companies are receiving funding, but since upstream from angel investors and Series A micro-funds, is still predominantly homogeneous, investors and the female founders we fund should work on strengthening those next level bonds to ensure a more heterogeneous fundig lanscape for the next stage of funding.

There is progress, the numbers are climbing, but we have so much more to do. What are YOU willing to do to change these numbers? It takes a collective, let's kep on swimming upstream to make the change we want to see in the world, one founder & investor at a time.


Baking Gratitude into Business: 20 Purposeful Ways

Baking Gratitude into Business: 20 Purposeful Ways

Kneading & baking handmade bread anchors us & connects people to millennia-old traditions or bold flavors & aromas. Kneading stretches the strands of gluten in the dough, allowing for more expansion during fermentation. Baking rises the dough into perfect morsels of flavor. Gratitude in business is similar to this, as you knead acts of kindness & gratitude into everyday cultures & networks, the strands of human connections are stretched & fortified, allowing for more expansion of values-aligned business connections. Baking allows for those strands of connections to be raised into a beautiful aroma of aligned culture (from a leaders to teams to customers to networks).

Reflecting on how best to give gratitude to during this holiday season (tumultuous & triggering for many) & reflecting on the end of a trying year for most, there are many ways to bake gratitude into your business, from acts of kindness to exercising the power of the purse to old school letter writing. Purposefully leading your business towards gratefulness sustains happy customers, giving thanks to teammates & makes for increased trust within your networks. Living a life of gratitude makes you a more empathetic leader.

Gratitude is the act of giving thanks for anything good or positive in your life. In servant leadership this is especially applied to the people around you. In the startup world it is even more important as building a team that will succeed through the highs and lows is essential to success. Feeling gratitude in your own life will help you get through the tough times; expressing gratitude to those around you will help them get through the tough times. 

I have also heard gratitude called an “affirmation of goodness.” Interestingly, this goodness comes from others. By being grateful, we are simply affirming the fact that we are not sufficient all by ourselves in terms of relationships and achieving our aims in life. We certainly need others around us who either motivate and support us or who directly work for us or with us to make our goals reachable.

As I live my values of integrity & abundance, here are actions YOU can take today and everyday to bake gratitude into business decisions, actions & transactions.


1. Send them a heart-felt Thank You note.

YOU know your customers and clients. A handwritten note is the BEST way to really stand out from the competition in a service-based business. If you are B to B business, a simple email or hand-written note to the company's leadership will allow for you to stand out from all of the other contractors or consultants. 

Going old school is new school!

2. Spend quality time together.

Listen, truly listen when they need some help or a new product.

Good old-fashion customer service makes everyone feel amazing!

3. Teach your customers something new.

Give them a free webinar, a free case study, a downloadable PDF to get started on their “next steps” in your process or insight.

4. Shout-out to your customers on social media.

A quick Tweet, a Linked In story shoutout, a FB live shoutout to your loyal customers, means the world to them. The network effect takes a hold of good acts of kindness and multiplies the good feelings. “At Poshly, a New York City-based data collection company for the beauty industry, a dedicated marketing staffer known as the “community manager” executes a social media strategy based primarily on showing online appreciation for Poshly’s 400,000 members.” –American Express, “Why Giving Thanks Could Be Your Most Cost-Effective Business Strategy

5. Send a sweet treat.

There are tons of thank you programs where you can send some treats, cookies, etc. anywhere. Try it out.


6. Give of your time.

You know what your clients and customers need, so give them what they are hungry for. 

“When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time”

― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

7. Personalize it!

Giving gifts to your network is just good business, like a starbucks card to someone you know really connects with people over coffee or like a calendar of inspirational quotes to someone who inspires others.

8. Go old school, again.

A simple hand-written card to a colleague or mentor. Here are a couple of sample letters:

  • I learn something from you every day. The business world can be very convoluted at times and I am thankful you help me steer my boat in the right way.
  • Your actions always speak louder than words and I am honored to know you and collaborate with you.
  • As I go throughout my day, your pearls of wisdom carry me through the valleys and encourage me through the uphills. Thank you.

9. Engage on social media.

You know how it feels when you share a quote, an article, some pics form a networking event, anything you feel passionate about; it's personal and sometimes vulnerable. To show gratitude for someone else's boldness of being vulnerable and sharing their passions, like the post, comment or share on the post.

Sharing is caring.

10. Include your network.

When you have an opportunity to share someone else's wins, their work, their expertise, or quote them in an article, do it. Include them in what you are doing, what you are scaling, what you are launching. When I have the opportunity to write for Forbes or be featured on TV, I always try to include a portfolio company of mine, an investor doing fabulous work, an academic whose research is phenomenal.


Happiness makes employees 12% more productive.

11. Organize a team-bonding event.

In the new year is a perfect time for getting together when it is safe, to bond as a team. Even over zoom, getting together just to check on each other or share a coffee mid morning can really bond the team around personal milestones or celebrations.

12. Invite them to lunch.

It's so much more than a meal. Invite them to sit down with you and talk about gratitude, thankfulness and mindfulness. Invite them to share a meal with you to talk about your values or what you both did over the weekend. Invite them to share in dreams and goals. Anything is great to connect & share some gratitude for working together.

13. Actually say “thank you” face to face.

Be intentional with your thankfulness and gratitude. Listen and speak from the heart. The words, “thank you” can be used so quickly and effortlessly, but when they are used with intentionality in the act of thanking someone for a great job well done and giving them examples of how you are thankful for their wonderful work, they know you are being sincere.

14. Pause & ask.

Especially during deadline season, in the rush of things, or during the holidays where family & work gets ind of crazy for most, pause and ask if your colleagues / team members are OK, if they need someone to advocate for them or champion them, or help on a project. Gratitude can be shown and expressed by the things we say or share.

15. Inner gratitude.

All of this is easier when you cultivate the art of appreciation in your inner life as well. How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about what you do? If you’re always grumpy, it will reflect in your role as a leader. It’s difficult to give others what you don’t practice on your own. Learn to appreciate yourself first. When you are grateful for every bit of progress you make, it’s easier to communicate it to those around you. This makes the atmosphere at work comfortable for those who are working with you.


16. Shop local.

Your personal pocketbook spending is a statement of your professionalism, so show it through where you shop. 

17. Shop with intension.

Use apps and resources like Buy Up Index to help you intensionally shop for products that help women advance and have women on their leadership teams. They rate everyday brands, products and the companies behind them, so you can look up your favorite brands to see how they measure up. The BUY UP index employs a proprietary methodology to score companies on four major areas: Women Employees, Women’s Leadership, Corporate Citizenship, and Marketing.

Learn which companies do the right thing, then shop for integrity.

18. Contract with a colleague.

The most flattering thank you is to actually work with someone you trust and actually pay for their services, thanking them for their time and their expertise. Shift from asking them to “pick your brain” to honoring them with “rent your brain”.

19. Give to a not for profit in someone's honor.

I am a monthly donor to Black & Brown Founders, so I gave in 2021 in honor of one of my colleagues who advocates for gender & racial equity, Sarah Bacerra. She was so honored. Read her Linked In post HERE.

Last, but certainly not least … number 20.

20. Build a culture of gratitude.

If you, as servant leader, show & express gratitude to all around you, a culture of gratitude is created and nurtured. Imagine what it would be like to have an entire team or network would be made up of people who are mentally strong, productive, healthy and persuasive. Gratitude really is that powerful. Try it on, see what the impact is.

BAKE IT IN! purposefully & intentionally. (*periodddd)

Baking gratitude into your business takes careful & intensional acts, thoughtfulness, empathy, the focus should be on the appreciation and not the monetary value of that appreciation.  A gift card can be spent, but a thank you note propped up in an isolated home office can make all of the difference every time someone looks at it.

Igniting Innovation, Impact & Investing through Action & Intentionality.

Igniting Innovation, Impact & Investing through Action & Intentionality.

I mean it. I sit down alongside leaders and entrepreneurs, I write checks, I am a trusted advisor when the journey seems unsurmountable for so many reasons. Having heard thousands, know you are not alone, the journey is so varied that noone has the one-size​=fits-most approach to launch or scale, and it's about trial and error as you focus on product-market fit and founder-market fit.

Innovation is what drives me, problem-solving around the world‘s most difficult problems and challenges. However, at the root of it, creativity is sparked by a curious human who wants to solve something, either something that needs to be fixed, just has to be in this world for the greater good, or something to fix an inequality. This spark is why founders invent and investors invest, the magic that makes up the innovation economy.

“Words may inspire but only action creates change”

Simon Sinek

I wholeheartedly agree that action is the necessity for inventions to change the world, to have a ripple effect for communities who would benefit from the commercialization of the innovation.

So, to inspire action, Ignite innovation by:

  1. Creating in your field of genius. If you love to tinker, then tinker and create something out of nothing. If you are a business strategist, give yourself the time and place to strategize and come up with wonderful new business models or frameworks. If you are struggling with even creativity itself, just doodle, build a sand castle, pick up a bouquet of flowers and arrange them in a vase and enjoy your masterpiece. Inspired surroundings inspire!
  2. Journaling ideas. First thing in the morning, just jot down what you have in your brain. That's it, 2 min, in the morning. Journal all of your thoughts (lofty and tiny) in this “ideas journal” so you get used to having your brain take a break from the mundane & thrive!

Impact is what sustains innovation. Impact has been a buzz word for main stream economists and investors, but during, and after, the pandemic, it became a necessity, a sustainability strategy that allowed for companies to stay open, to be able to get through the pandemic and thrive afterwards. If impact is baked into the DNA of a start up or an existing business, customers become raving fanatics of the solution they are buying, strategic partners are more engaged, and return on impact is synonymous with return on investment.

Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ignite Impact by:

  1. Show up. Helping a colleague out is a tangible impact moment for someone who needs advise or support. Get on a zoom call and listen, truly listen, to what they are working on and impact them by a new way of thinking, expanding on an idea using “yes, and”), connecting them with the RIGHT people, or intro-ing them to a next level connection.
  2. Talk about impact. Communicating the impact individual people are making or an organization is doing for the greater good is imperative for changing the narrative from only return on investment to also a return on impact. Devise a way to communicate your own impact stories about your personal brand and your startup, this will help you devise and communicate your impact metrics more efficiently. Ask your team and advisors about your impact metrics to fully understand opportunities and identify gaps to do even more good. Bake impact metrics into your business metrics, your customers and investors will thank you.

Investing makes for thriving economies from capital markets to angel investing to VCs to cryptocurrency. Investing hard cash into the startup economy allows for founders to turn an idea into reality and scale to communities that need a solution. Investing is also about investing in humans and the human potential of creativity. That is why innovation is intertwined with impact and investing. Investing can also be non-monetary, like mentoring someone who needs your expertise or your advice, advising businesses how to launch and scale, and helping founders become leaders. Investing also inwardly, towards your own leadership qualities is essential to show up as your best self, so double down on your strengths, be aware of your weaknesses, and be open to change for the greater good.

Ignite investing by:

  1. Putting money down. Period. Send a wire, write a check, take out your pocket book to invest in a startup, company or small business.
  2. Open up your network. Your network is your networth, we have heard that so many times, but investing in others by spending time with them, understanding their needs, and assisting in targeted introductions or connections through your network, that's significant. You have grown your network based on TRUST, so exercise that currency to invest in values-aligned entrepreneurs and investors who could really impact the world through connections you make.

#innovation #impact #invest

041 Vidya Dinamani – Laying the Groundwork for Investing

041 Vidya Dinamani – Laying the Groundwork for Investing

Episode Summary

Welcome to She Invests, where you’ll hear from existing female angel investors, venture capitalists and fund managers on their investment thesis. From deal flow to exits, they will share the best practices that contribute to their success.

In this episode, Dr. Silvia Mah welcomes to the podcast entrepreneur, Product Coach, author and co-founder, Vidya Dinamani. Vidya has a passion for coaching product leaders and teams. She is one of the founding partners of Ad Astra Ventures. She is also Principal with Product Rebels, a company founded to help product managers, founders and entrepreneurs make customer breakthroughs. Vidya has also recently been focused on investing and mentoring startups and early stage companies. She has over eighteen years of experience specializing in business and technology strategy development and product design, development and management. Vidya has held multiple executive roles at leading companies, including executive positions leading innovation and product management at Mitchell International, Director of Customer Experience for TurboTax Intuit. She also served as Director of Business Operations and Chief IT Architect for the software provider. Prior to Intuit, Vidya was a consultant with Deloitte Consulting, specializing in technology strategy consulting. She holds seven U.S. patents for software technoloy and is a certified Net Promoter associate.

Today, Dr. Sylvia and Vidya talk about Vidya’s ‘Why’ of investing and her goal to achieve equality among men and women on both sides of the investment table. Vidya expounds on what it means to go from the first meeting with a startup company to actually writing a check and investing. Finally, Dr. Sylvia and Vidya discuss the work Ad Astra Ventures is doing to educate entrepreneurs today.

What We Covered

  • 04:30 – Dr. Silvia Mah introduces today’s guest, Vidya Dinamani, who discusses her professional background, her very first investment and her ‘Why’ of investing
  • 10:22 – Vidya talks about identifying the right founder and the right product-market fit when she seeks out early stage startup companies to invest in
  • 13:45 – Vidya talks about the origin story of Ad Astra Ventures and the commitment they’ve made to help more female founders
  • 20:55 – Vidya speaks to the impact Ad Astra Ventures wants to create
  • 29:15 – Vidya talks about her book, Groundwork: Get Better at Making Better Products and some of the great testimonials she’s received as feedback
  • 37:02 – Vidya expounds on her background in product and how it’s impacted how she shows up as an investor
  • 38:55 – Vidya talks about the work she’s doing at Lash.Live
  • 45:56 – What abundance mindset means to Vidya
  • 47:32 – Dr. Silvia recaps her interview with Vidya


Links Mentioned

Dr. Silvia Mah’s LinkedIn
Dr. Silvia Mah’s Website
Dr. Silvia’s Twitter – @silviamah
Domaine Santé Website
San Diego Angel Conference
Vidya’s LinkedIn
Product Rebels Website
Ad Astra Website
Vidya’s Book

Episode Sponsor

Domaine Santé

Share the Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’

040 Rose Bowlus – Finding Your Voice as an Investor

040 Rose Bowlus – Finding Your Voice as an Investor

Episode Summary

Welcome to She Invests, where you’ll hear from existing female angel investors, venture capitalists and fund managers on their investment thesis. From deal flow to exits, they will share the best practices that contribute to their success.

In this episode, Dr. Silvia Mah welcomes to the podcast attorney and angel investor, Rose Bowlus. Rose is an experienced attorney and former in-house counsel with extensive transactional, regulatory and compliance experience at industry leading financial institutions and energy companies. She is a strong leader, seasoned negotiator and excellent communicator, all traits that have prepared her for her transition to angel investing. Today, Dr. Silvia speaks to Rose about Rose’s journey from aspiring angel investor to an expert who is ingrained in the startup ecosystem. They discuss Rose’s background in law, the work she’s doing to help and advocate for start-ups and some of projects she’s currently taking part in, including Angels in the Law and The Fourth Floor.

What We Covered

  • 05:12 – Dr. Silvia Mah introduces today’s guest, Rose Bowlus who speaks to her involvement in the San Diego Angel Conference (SDAC), her background as a lawyer and finding her voice as an investor
  • 11:01 – Rose recounts the finalist companies at San Diego Angel Conference
  • 13:24 – Rose expounds on her latest project, Angels in the Law
  • 18:51 – Bringing a different perspective and doing your due diligence as an angel investor
  • 24:02 – What Rose is doing to help and advocate for start-up companies
  • 29:28 – Rose talks about one of the start-up companies that she’s particularly excited about
  • 37:56 – Rose speaks to her involvement in an early stage company, The Fourth Floor
  • 42:14 – What abundance mindset means to Rose
  • 43:40 – Dr. Silvia recaps her interview with Rose


Links Mentioned

Dr. Silvia Mah’s LinkedIn
Dr. Silvia Mah’s Website
Dr. Silvia’s Twitter – @silviamah
Domaine Santé Website
San Diego Angel Conference
Rose’s LinkedIn
Rose’s Website
Link to The Fourth Floor

Episode Sponsor

Domaine Santé

Share the Show

Did you enjoy the show? We would love it if you subscribed today and left us a 5-star review!

  1. Click this link
  2. Click on the ‘Subscribe’ button below the artwork
  3. Go to the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ section
  4. Click on ‘Write a Review’